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Rebate debate: Will federal cheques offset the carbon tax?

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Idling in a construction zone or waiting at a long traffic light will still be aggravating after Saturday, but it will also be a lot more expensive.

With gas prices alone jumping about 18 cents the first week of July, it will prove to be a painful time at the pumps, but the federal government says its quarterly rebate cheques will ease the pain.

How much you get depends on where you live.

A detailed provincial breakdown is available through Revenue Canada's website.

The payments will go out on the fifteenth of April, July, October and January.

A single person in Nova Scotia will get a cheque for $124 four times a year, while a family of four with children under 18 will collect $248, just shy of a thousand-dollars total.

Individuals in New Brunswick will see quarterly cheques of $92, and with a family, $184.

In Prince Edward Island, the carbon tax rebate amounts to $120 for singles, and $240 for families.

Rural residents are entitled to supplementary payments.

Ottawa has insisted the payments will more than make up for additional costs, leading some to wonder the reasoning behind collecting it in the first place.

In Bedford today, Nova Scotia Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship, Sean Fraser, insisted it's about the big picture.

"The reality is, people who are not big polluters are getting short-changed already today," Fraser told reporters.

"The new path forward that is going to issue a rebate to people is going to put them in a better position. It's not as though the money you'll pay as a result of a fuel charge is going to be the same money you get back, because everyone owns the environment or the atmosphere equally. When somebody damages it, they should pay everybody for it."

But, the argument remains contentious.

The Atlantic Premiers requested an urgent meeting with the PM to defer the tax until inflation’s under control but the invitation has not come yet.

In the meantime, Nova Scotia's premier says the cheques won't begin to cover the added costs, and recipients won't be ahead at the end of the day.

"Certainly the Liberals are trying to promote this message that this carbon tax is a money-maker for people, you'll actually get more back than you pay in. People just know that taxes aren't money-makers for them," Tim Houston told CTV News Wednesday.

"But it's not just my opinion, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been through the numbers and says people will pay out more than they receive back. That report is public. It's known to the Liberals, it's known to people. It's not a money maker. The tax is going to cost people money and for no reason. It's completely unnecessary. It won't do anything to protect the planet, it won't achieve any goals. It's going to cost people money, that's the reality. People know that, and it's time the Liberals were honest about that, too." Houston said.

The government is offering some exemptions to the tax, including some fuel for farmers and fishermen but certificates for those have to be issued ahead of time.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.
 

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