Alberta’s finance minister is happy Ottawa improved its original proposal for how much tax revenue from marijuana provinces will get.
On Monday, the federal government agreed to give the provinces and territories a 75 per cent share of the tax revenues from the sale of legalized marijuana.
“We’re going to have costs that need addressing, and we’re not sure what those are,” Joe Ceci said.
“And so, today’s arrangement is much better than the one they proposed earlier and I think the premier and myself expressing our desire to get a better share is what helped realize this today.”
Last month, the Alberta NDP blasted Ottawa for its proposed tax on pot. Ceci said the 50-50 tax sharing proposal clearly wouldn’t work.
“The federal government must be smoking something to think it will work for the provinces and Alberta. It’s not (going to work). It’s unacceptable,” Ceci said on Nov. 10.
The federal Liberals had just proposed a $1 per gram tax on pot when it becomes legal in 2018 and suggested it split the tax 50-50 with the provinces. Ceci wasn’t impressed and vowed to send a letter immediately “on behalf of all the provinces saying that’s unacceptable and we need to get into a room together to work it out.”
On Monday, he reiterated the provinces would need resources to handle the bulk of work and costs associated with legalizing marijuana – from policing to education.
“Provinces will bear the responsibility of the regulations, the risks, the infrastructure to proceed with this federal initiative,” Ceci said.
“Make no mistake, we will do the hard work to protect children and youth and our communities. What we won’t do is foot the bill for the federal government’s campaign promise.”
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the new agreement Monday after a day-long meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
“What the feds have said is they can anticipate about $400 million in federal excise tax coming to them in the first year,” Ceci explained. “That would mean $100 million would go to the feds and the remaining part – $300 million – would get split among provinces on a proper basis.”
“The deal we came to today is better than the one they originally proposed,” Ceci said. “Our government fighting for that better deal helped shift them.”
– With files from Global’s Rick Boguski and the Canadian Press