Manitoba has a ‘strong case’ to review carbon price in province: Kinew

Click to play video: 'Premier Kinew: It’s time we take a ‘look at that price on carbon here in Manitoba’'
Premier Kinew: It’s time we take a ‘look at that price on carbon here in Manitoba’
WATCH: When he was elected, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said he was going to deliver “immediate help” to Manitobans when it comes to affordability and health care. ‘The West Block’ host Mercedes Stephenson speaks to Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew about the state of progress on his promises, his priorities for the new year, the carbon tax and more – Jan 7, 2024

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew says that it is time to take another look at how the federal carbon price, popularly known as the carbon tax, is applied in his province.

“I think that there’s an argument that Manitoba is maybe one of the strongest cases you could make, that the price on carbon should be revisited in our jurisdiction,” Kinew told The West Block host Mercedes Stephenson in an interview that aired on Jan. 7.

“It’s definitely something that I know Manitobans would like to see some help with. We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the past five decades to build a low carbon electricity grid. We’ve paid the down payment on that mortgage. We’re in a position to have a low carbon economy going forward into the future.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said there will be no more carve-outs to the federal carbon price after putting a three-year freeze on the levy for home heating oil in October.

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It’s a move other premiers say disproportionately benefits Atlantic Canada, where a higher proportion of residents use heating oil compared to other provinces.

Click to play video: '2024 brings fuel tax changes in Alberta, Manitoba'
2024 brings fuel tax changes in Alberta, Manitoba

Since the announcement, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has instructed Crown utility SaskEnergy to stop collecting the carbon price on home heating. In the Northwest Territories, Premier R.J. Simpson has called for a carbon price exemption for the territory’s residents, citing the high cost of living.

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Manitoba is one of 10 provinces and territories where the federal fuel charge is applied. Only B.C., the Northwest Territories and Quebec have pollution pricing plans that satisfy federal requirements.

The Keystone Province is also one of only three jurisdictions in Canada where the federal pollution price applies to both fuel and industry. Manitoba is joined by Yukon and Nunavut in this.

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The Manitoba government paused its provincial fuel tax at the start of the year. The pause will last six months and saves drivers about 14 cents per litre at the pumps.

“I think our province has a really strong case to make that during this time where we’re dealing with inflation, we’re dealing with the cost of living, that we should get some consideration, we should get a little bit of help,” Kinew told Stephenson.

Click to play video: 'Mixed feelings as Manitoba’s gas tax holiday begins'
Mixed feelings as Manitoba’s gas tax holiday begins

According to Manitoba Hydro, 97 per cent of the province’s electricity is generated by hydroelectricity. However, 60 per cent of home heating is done with the carbon emitting natural gas.

Kinew says that his government is working with Ottawa on setting up a heat pump program to help low-income Canadians bring the heating source to their homes, which the premier says will help the province achieve its green goals.

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“We have a credible path to net zero,” Kinew said. “And as a result, I do think that, you know, it’s time that we take a look at that price on carbon here in Manitoba.”

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