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RCMP reopen highway at Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border crossing after carbon tax protest

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Hundreds of cars and trucks lined either side of the highway at the Nova Scotia–New Brunswick border Monday as anti-carbon tax campaigners took their protest to the land crossing.

The protest kicked off early in the morning, with RCMP eventually closing the highway around 10 a.m., diverting traffic to a secondary road. On the New Brunswick side of the border, traffic was backed up almost as far as Sackville.

The RCMP told CTV News the closure was needed because there were too many vehicles on the highway and their priority is to ensure the safety of everyone.

The federal government’s carbon tax increase came into effect Monday. The levy is applied to consumers for fossil fuel purchases, meaning a litre of gas will rise by a little over three cents.

"The fact that the carbon tax exists is atrocious," said Mike Younger, one of the protesters. "A person can't get ahead. There's no possibility of saving money because we're just fighting to survive on a daily basis."

"I think over the last few years the cost of living has just gone above what anyone can reasonably afford to pay or be expected to pay and I think it's time that we all stand up and say enough is enough," said Cody Wells, another protester.

Angela Burton, who works with a non-profit, said she often sees the impact increases to the cost of living have on people.

"Seniors are having to decide whether they're going to pay their heat, whether they can eat, whether they can afford their prescriptions and I don't think the carbon tax should be applied, especially at this time with the increased cost of living," said Burton.

The New Brunswick RCMP said in a post on X that Highway 2 near the Nova Scotia border opened to all traffic in both directions, down to one lane only, just before 3 p.m. Both lanes opened around 8:30 p.m.

At the Confederation Bridge, about 40 cars stopped alongside the road waving flags and holding signs calling for an end to the carbon tax.

Jonathan Wilikinson, the federal Energy and Natural Resources minister, reminded Canadians why the tax was created.

“It is by far the most efficient, lowest cost way to reduce carbon emissions,” said Wilikinson.

“So, if you actually believe in the science of climate change and want to reduce carbon emissions in a manner that is the least costly for taxpayers, it is a price on pollution.”

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