N.B. business community starting to grapple with carbon pricing
The New Year has made the federal government's carbon tax a new reality, but New Brunswick is the only Atlantic province without a plan of its own and is now subject to what's called “the federal backstop.”
The province decided to opt out and New Brunswick is entering new territory under Ottawa's carbon pricing plan.
The business community in the industry heavy city of Saint John is on edge.
“The supply chain is affected all the way through,” said David Duplisea, the Saint John Region Chamber Of Commerce CEO. “Large businesses, small businesses all are going to be very, very, very affected by it in the province and there's a lot of concern there because it's just yet another cost burden.”
University of New Brunswick economist Herb Emery says New Brunswickers will feel the pinch at the pumps -- directly and indirectly.
“One way to think of it is starting with gasoline,” Emery said. “If you increase the cost of getting things into stores, it's going to get passed on to consumers, so we will see carbon pricing start to have a general effect on the cost of living.”
New Brunswick is one of four provinces to have a carbon tax plan imposed by the federal government, alongside Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Ottawa has pledged rebates to residents in those provinces.
The federal government says the average household in New Brunswick will receive $248, but some say that's just not enough.
“Everything we touch will be affected in some way, particularly in a province where we're very trade exposed,” Duplisea said. “A huge percentage of our GDP is exported.”
The province's new premier says the government will intervene in legal challenges launched by Saskatchewan and Ontario, and Blaine Higgs says New Brunswick intends to launch its own as well.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.