The provincial government is disappointed with the federal government’s decision to impose its federal carbon tax backstop on Newfoundland and Labrador as of July 1, 2023.
The province had been seeking exemptions to account for those who heat with oil and fish harvesters who use diesel in their vessels in order to make a living.
The province says the federal government’s decision does not reflect the pressures that residents are facing with the rising cost of living, or the “meaningful” changes Newfoundland and Labrador has made to address climate change and being a leader in the transition to cleaner energy.
The carbon tax in Newfoundland and Labrador was charged by the provincial government, but did not include home heating fuel and a number of other uses. Now the province will have to repeal its legislation and will no longer collect the carbon tax.
“The current price signals being provided by the market are far stronger than the signals that removal of these exemptions would have provided under normal economic circumstances, and they are already generating the changes in perspective and behavior that the Federal Government desires.”
-Premier Furey in his September 2, 2022 correspondence to the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change
O’Regan Defends Carbon Tax
Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan is defending the federal government’s decision, noting that the NL will now be eligible for rebate checks. to impose the carbon tax backstop on three provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador.
O’Regan says with Ottawa administering the tax, residents are eligible for rebate payments through the Climate Action Incentive Fund.
Starting in July residents of Newfoundland and Labrador will start receiving payments similar to those in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. O’Regan says there will be four payments a year. In NL, a family of four will receive $328 dollars quarterly, starting in July.
He also made the pitch for people to switch from oil heat to a heat pump. He says the carbon tax won’t be applied to home heating fuel until after the winter heating season is over.
Provincial Environment and Climate Change Minister Bernard Davis says O’Regan seeing it as a good news announcement is indicative of a federal government not listening.
Davis says they are not against the concept of a carbon tax but against it as it stands today. He says world markets have pushed prices up and are pushing people towards green initiatives anyway, which is what the carbon tax was designed to do.
PC Leader David Brazil sees the province’s inability to successfully campaign against the tax as a “colossal failure.” With the working relationship that has been touted between the two levels of government, Brazil hoped there could have been a solution found that addressed the province’s climate needs without putting more hardship on the people
NDP leader Jim Dinn says they support a tax on pollution—but inflation exists without the carbon tax—and he would like to see the government address some of the root causes.
Dinn says inflation is being driven by the huge corporate profits of oil companies and supermarket chains. He says government should be taxing the windfall profits of those big companies, “if they’ve got the intestinal fortitude to do that.”