Gallant fighting federal Liberals over carbon-pricing snub
In New Brunswick, Brian Gallant is fighting for more than his right to govern.
He's also looking at a legal fight over the federal government's refusal to accept his carbon-pricing plan.
New Brunswickers are instead being forced to accept the federal plan and that was hanging over Gallant’s Liberals on the second day of the fall sitting of the New Brunswick legislature.
Tuesday, while Brian Gallant was focused on convincing the house to accept his Throne Speech, Ottawa said no to his carbon-pricing plan. Wednesday, he was reminded about it.
“The premier spent the entire election campaign insisting that his carbon-pricing plan would meet Ottawa’s standards,” said Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs. “Very recently, we learned that he either failed to convince Ottawa to accept his plan, or they were never going to.”
But Gallant says he's not backing down.
“We’re going to be briefed in depth by the department of environment to see what our options are and we'll consider all options, including legal ones if there is any ground to stand on,” Gallant said. “We wouldn’t do that unless there is the potential of being able to win a court case.”
Gallant’s plan was to see a couple cents from the already existing gas tax go to a climate fund, but the amount would stay the same - at 15.5 cents a litre.
That’s not good enough, said the feds, and Tuesday, Ottawa announced it would impose its plan on New Brunswick --
a plan that would see 4.4 cents a litre added to the price of gas next April.
“When it comes to taxes on gas, New Brunswickers already pay one of the highest amounts,” said Gallant.
He says he’s hoping Ottawa will consider allowing New Brunswick to “rejig” the plan.
He’s not looking for an exemption, but he’s not happy with the federal plan.
“It's clear, the plan that was proposed by Brian Gallant was not accepted and so we're asking, what's the next step?” Higgs said.
Higgs is promising he'll fight the tax if he's premier. But for now, Gallant will be back in the hot seat Thursday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.