March 27, 2019 6:16 pm

N.B. legislature continues to grapple with impending carbon tax

WATCH: The federal carbon tax backstop will be imposed on Monday. Meaning it'll cost Canadians more at the pumps and for home heating. Although New Brunswick is fighting the price on carbon, politicians are already talking about how to spend tax rebates. Morganne Campbell has more.


New Brunswick is bracing for the federally-imposed price on carbon set to be imposed on April 1, and it was a hot-button issue in the New Brunswick legislature as Liberal MLAs tossed multiple questions towards the governing Progressive Conservatives.

“Is this government going to collect money from New Brunswickers, money they don’t even believe in and break it’s campaign commitment? Or how and when will this money be given to New Brunswickers?” asked Moncton South MLA Cathy Rogers.

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During Question Period on Wednesday, Premier Blaine Higgs told the house, “Our goal is to fight the carbon tax because unlike the members opposite they believe they can just keep taxing more and taxing more and life will be good.”

The federal carbon pricing backstop is set to kick-in but only in the four provinces that don’t have their own carbon pricing system, New Brunswick is one of them, alongside Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. All are fighting the tax through court action.

READ MORE: Carbon tax to kick in next week — but details for small businesses not yet finalized

Gasoline prices are expected to jump 4.2 cents per litre with home heating up by 3.91 cents. In addition, HST will also be applied with 10 per cent of that cash going back to the province. A number politicians suggest it could be close to 9 million.

“When you listen to what the premier says on a few files carbon tax is one, so he’s against it, agree or not he’s against it but he likes the money coming out of it. He’s against transfer payments coming from Ottawa because he’s critical of it but he takes the money so you can’t have it both ways,” explains Roger Melanson, a Liberal MLA from the riding of Dieppe Centre-Lewisville.

The Green Party says use the tax to fight climate change.

READ MORE: State of Ontario’s climate policy is ‘frightening,’ environmental watchdog says

“Putting the money in our collective pocket and lets use it in a way that New Brunswickers see that it’s going to actually make a difference,” explains David Coon.

But the provinces minister of environment says there’s no need to earmark that cash just yet.

“We really don’t know the exact number. You know, this is a number in a whole scheme that’s being imposed on us by Ottawa without all of these parts of it being thought through,” added Jeff Carr.

But the fate of the carbon price is unknown as the federal Conservatives have committed to doing away with the tax if elected in the fall.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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