Nova Scotians still don’t know how the province plans to deal with Ottawa’s demand for a price on carbon, which the prime minister announced would be imposed by 2018 if provinces don’t have their own plans in place.
Since Trudeau’s announcement last week, Premier Stephen McNeil has said there won’t be a carbon tax in Nova Scotia, and that he is still negotiating a deal for the province.
When asked Friday by Global News’ Marieke Walsh about what the premier has pitched to the feds and is hoping they accept, McNeil went on the attack.
“Marieke, that is something I’m pitching to the federal government, and when we go through the negotiation you’ll be the second person I tell, OK?” the premier responded.
“We’ll communicate it to Nova Scotians. I think you think it’s unreasonable for you to suggest I should sit here and negotiate with you on what we’re trying to deal for Nova Scotians, this is an important issue for Nova Scotia families.”
“We’re trying to make sure that we articulate their views and it needs to be done in a thoughtful way. I don’t think anyone should believe that a government with any negotiating partner should be sitting here doing it in public, with you.
“You’re acting like an opposition leader, which is quite odd to me,” he said. “We’ve said, we’ve provided some options to the people of Nova Scotia, when we get to what is a solution we’ll bring that to Nova Scotians.”
“What I’ve said, the one thing that is not an option for us as a government is a carbon tax, it will not happen in Nova Scotia under my leadership.”
When Walsh responded that she was asking as a journalist, not trying to act like an opposition leader, saying she was “just trying to ask you what your government’s considering,” McNeil remained on the defensive.
“I have said to you, we’re negotiating with the federal government, what you’re asking me to do is to have my negotiations with you, you’re not going to be able to make the decision, Marieke, the decision will be made by the national government.”
Another reporter at the Nova Scotia legislature interrupted the premier, saying “I don’t understand why this just got so personal, can you just answer the question of what you’re considering?”
“We’re sitting there having a negotiation with the national government when we get to a solution, we’ll be happy to communicate it to Nova Scotians,” McNeil said before walking away.