N.L.'s fuels levy, if called a carbon tax, would be Canada's stiffest: economist

Published on October 5, 2016

Finn Poschmann, president and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), says the newly-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will help ports in Atlantic Canada compete on the international market with those along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Dave Stewart/The Guardian

HALIFAX - The president of an economic think tank says provinces without large hydroelectricity resources are raising fair objections to Ottawa's proposed carbon pricing.

Finn Poschmanns of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says Ottawa's insistence that provinces must either adopt a carbon tax or a cap and trade system is ignoring the importance of regulated emission reductions that some provinces have already put in place.

He says emissions standards imposed on industry by regulation are very effective, and layering on additional taxes or imposing cap and trade may do serious economic harm without a matching environmental benefit.

He says the transition away from coal by Nova Scotia and other provinces has already cost billions, and electricity ratepayers in Nova Scotia and Ontario will be paying for it for decades to come.

He says Newfoundland and Labrador recently imposed a fuels tax increase which, if it were called a carbon tax, would be the stiffest carbon emissions tax in the country.

Poschmanns notes the federal plan says Ottawa should be “flexible and recognize carbon pricing policies already implemented or in development,” but then only offers a menu that includes carbon emissions taxes and cap and trade.

He says the federal carbon emissions plan does not include the word “regulation,” and “affected provinces are right to vehemently object.”