The politics of carbon pricing in Canada: a case study of Ontario stakeholders participation and deliberation in Canada's federal carbon pricing policy process

Yankey, Ignatius Kobbina (2021) The politics of carbon pricing in Canada: a case study of Ontario stakeholders participation and deliberation in Canada's federal carbon pricing policy process. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Public and stakeholder participation and deliberation in environmental governance have been acknowledged and endorsed by several international principles and organizations as saliently sine qua non in unlocking solutions to “wicked” problems. Like in other countries, Canadian law recognizes and endorses the benefits of these elements. Accordingly, the federal government consulted and gathered inputs from various stakeholder groups during the development of its carbon pricing policy. However, there have been stakeholder acceptability problems and legitimacy challenges with the policy in Ontario. This thesis, therefore, explores and analyzes the role of the public and stakeholders in participatory and deliberative processes that occurred during the federal carbon pricing policy development, using Ontario stakeholders’ engagement as a case. Using a qualitative research approach, participants from government/bureaucrats, political parties, academia/experts, ENGOs, and businesses/industries involved in the processes were interviewed. Key issues and questions structured around the study’s objectives revealed that although there were participatory processes, which affected some aspects of the final policy decision, the processes were deficient in several key aspects. The processes employed by the policy designers, even though, were restricted to tokenism, therapy, manipulation, and group interest politics, they reflected the input, preferences, and values of most of the stakeholders. Unfortunately, the existing and emerging major controversies and disputes were left unresolved during and after the processes, which have affected the policy’s legitimacy and acceptability in Ontario. Given the various fundamental ideologies of the political parties/organizations, and their approaches to climate change and emissions reductions in Canada’s climate history, no nationally coordinated policy decisions about climate change will be free from political tensions, criticisms, and controversies. This thesis suggests that it is prudent for the federal government to continue with the policy so far as it is meeting its intended purpose, while engaging the dissenting stakeholders since policymaking is an unending process. The thesis concludes by recommending approaches that could be used to improve participatory processes and serve as a yardstick to assess other practices in future projects. It also calls on researchers to look into how Canadian provinces can achieve unity in solving “wicked problems” like the GHG emissions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15170
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-152).
Keywords: Carbon pricing policy, Public, Stakeholders, Deliberation, Participation, Politics, Ontario, Politics
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: October 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Greenhouse gas mitigation--Government policy--Canada; Greenhouse gas mitigation--Economic aspects--Canada; Policy networks--Ontario; Lobbyists--Ontario--Attitudes.

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