Province tosses planned carbon tax

Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen, pictured speaking to the media at a September 2018 press conference. Winnipeg Sun/Chris Procaylo/stf

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The provincial government will go ahead with their climate and green plan, but will ditch the carbon tax component.
The government made the announcement Oct. 4, saying without an assurance from the federal government that no further carbon taxes would be added, they were unwilling to put their own in place.
“Our Made-in-Manitoba plan proposed a flat, fixed tax rate that would provide stability to consumers, business, industry and agriculture,” Premier Brian Pallister said. “It would save Manitoba families and businesses more than $260 million over five years compared to the Ottawa plan. Most importantly, all monies collected under our plan would be returned to Manitobans, in the form of tax reductions.”
The Manitoba carbon tax would have charged $25 per tonne, equivalent to about five cents per litre on fuel. Exemptions were made for some big businesses and farms.
Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen said despite Ottawa saying they liked Manitoba’s plan, they were still planning to impose their own, doubling the carbon tax charged with no guarantee of where the money would go.
He added that the federal plan does not take into consideration the amount of money Manitobans have already invested to reduce carbon emissions.
“We have done our carbon price already,” Friesen said. “Manitobans are sinking $20 billion into hydroelectric investment… hydro is 98 per cent renewable energy.”
Friesen said that’s equivalent to $100 per tonne that Manitobans are already paying.
“We’ve said to Ottawa from the very beginning, you have to take into account the investments we’ve already made,” he said. “You cannot draw a mark on the ground and say all provinces are treated equally regardless if they burn coal or tumble water over a dam in a 98 per cent renewable energy environment.”
Carbon taxes under Manitoba’s previous plan were going to be used to increase the basic personal exemption. “We had to put that on hold,” Friesen said.
The Conservative plan to reduce the PST was not linked to carbon tax revenues, so that will go ahead as scheduled.
“We will reduce the PST in the last year of our first mandate, at the same time we’re saying no to Trudeau’s $50 per tonne carbon price,” he said.
Friesen stressed they are still implementing their green plan to address environmental issues.
“All of those investments continue,” he said. “None of them are impacted by today’s announcement that we must make our argument at the courts.”
Friesen said Manitobans would suffer from the federal tax, pointing out that over half of households have less than $100 left at the end of the month.
“This is an issue of respect for the environment, but also an issue of respect for families,” he said.

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