Nova Sco­tia to stay mu­mon car­bon tax

Calgary Herald - - CANADA - Alex cooKe

• With just a week left for prov­inces to sub­mit their car­bon pol­lu­tion pric­ing plans to Ot­tawa, the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment says it will not share its pro­posal with the pub­lic.

Premier Stephen McNeil said Thurs­day that Nova Sco­tians won’t be told what the plan looks like or what sort of reg­u­la­tions there will be.

He told re­porters there’s no point in show­ing it to Nova Sco­tians be­fore the plan gets approved by Ot­tawa.

“Our sys­tem that we’re send­ing in, it would need to be approved, that it meets all of the bench­marks set out by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” said McNeil. “Once we know what the fi­nal sys­tem is, then of course we’ll take that to Nova Sco­tians, but we can’t take a sys­tem to them ... without know­ing what it’s go­ing to be.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment’s web­site, im­ple­ment­ing a ca­pand-trade pro­gram would al­low the prov­ince to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions in a cost-ef­fec­tive way. It es­ti­mates about 20 com­pa­nies would take part in a pro­gram.

It says the prov­ince has al­ready re­duced emis­sions by 30 per cent since 2005, and with a car­bon pric­ing sys­tem in place it hopes to reach 46 per cent by 2020.

NDP Leader Gary Bur­rill said the pub­lic de­serves to know what the gov­ern­ment’s plan en­tails.

“The gov­ern­ment has made a lot of noise over a long time about how they are valu­ing trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity, that ev­ery­thing is up front,” he said. “And here we have one of the most im­por­tant things about the econ­omy of Nova Sco­tia, that in fact people aren’t even go­ing to get a glimpse of be­fore it’s gone off for its ap­proval.”

He said Nova Sco­tians should be able to see the orig­i­nal plan along with what­ever changes may be nec­es­sary to en­sure full trans­parency.

In On­tario, Premier Doug Ford re­cently made head­lines with his plans to scrap their prov­ince’s cap-and­trade sys­tem, and McNeil said he will be watch­ing what hap­pens next “very closely.”

He added that he’s proud of the steps Nova Sco­tians have made to re­duce their emis­sions.

“I’m very proud of the work Nova Sco­tians have done through suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments when it comes to the issue of en­sur­ing that we con­tinue to green our en­vi­ron­ment be­fore this be­came fash­ion­able at the na­tional level,” he said.

Ot­tawa says putting a price on car­bon pol­lu­tion is crit­i­cal for Canada to meet its cli­mate com­mit­ment un­der the Paris Agree­ment.

Stephen McNeil

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