Carbon tax touchy issue during second day of N.S. legislature fall session
Published Friday, October 14, 2016 7:46PM ADT
Carbon pricing is coming to Nova Scotia, but questions remain about how it will work, and what it will cost taxpayers.
N.S. premier Stephen McNeil continues to insist he won't bring in a carbon tax, and that has his political opponents demanding to know what he is going to do.
Premier McNeil seemed to get testy with those who kept asking during the second day of the fall session of the legislature.
“I have said to you, we're negotiating with the federal government. What you're asking me to do is have my negotiations with you. You're not going to make this decision,” McNeilsaid to reporters.
Provinces have until 2018 to implement a form of carbon pricing, or the federal government will impose either a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. It's intended to help Canada reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Premier McNeil says because Nova Scotia has already reached that target, he's working on negotiating a unique plan.
“This is an important issue for Nova Scotian families. We're trying to make sure that we articulate their views,” says McNeil.
The opposition says it disagrees with any form of carbon pricing.
“In fact, he won't deny that he'll look at a hidden form of carbon tax called cap-and-trade,” NS PC leader Jamie Baillie. “What we can't have now is imposed on us by our provincial government, the Liberal government, or our federal Liberal government, some additional cost.”
On Friday, the issue came up during question period.
“Will the minister admit that federal carbon taxes will put our agriculture industry at a competitive disadvantage?,” said NS PC MLA John Lohr.
“Will the minister reassure members of Nova Scotia's mining industry that they'll be excluded from the Liberal carbon tax?,” added NS PC MLA Pat Dunn.
“This government will stand up for Nova Scotians, we know we have a role, Mr. Speaker, to continue to help the national government achieve its carbon pricing. Mr. Speaker, we will do so,” said McNeil.
Provinces like British Columbia and Alberta plan to return revenue from carbon pricing to households through either tax breaks or rebates.
Nova Scotia's plan is still very much under development and under wraps.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.