Some Maritimers want to avoid a carbon tax, others want rebate to help those on low-incomes

CTV News

Nova Scotia’s environment minister says the province has proposed an alternate solution that would set performance standards for large greenhouse gas emitters.

But if that proposal gets rejected, Nova Scotians might wind up paying the federal carbon tax.

The prospect of a carbon tax is creating concerns around affordability for many Nova Scotians, including Jeff Kanabenshuh.

“In today’s world, especially with inflation the way it is, it’s just another expense that comes out of my personal wallet,” Kanabenshuh tells CTV Atlantic.

While there are other low-emission options, Kanabenshuh says he does not have the ability to make a substantial change.

“If we do want to go to a renewable route, like an electric car, you’re paying a big premium to that which the average person just doesn’t have the capital to be able to do so,” he said.

With cooler weather soon approaching, concerns of energy affordability are top of mind in the Maritimes.

Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister Timothy Halman claims the alternative plan to the carbon tax will still meet the federal requirements, while off-setting costs for many.

“We believe it will be a system that holds Nova Scotia Power accountable and all large industries accountable,” Halman said Friday. “It will create a flexibility in the system.”

If the plan is not approved, Ottawa can implement its own carbon tax on the Atlantic provinces. While the idea has caused controversy for some, others, like the Ecology Action Centre’s Thomas Arnason McNeil, believe Nova Scotia should implement a carbon tax and use the rebate to help those on low-incomes bridge the affordability gap.

“Allowing energy consumers to pay different power rates if they are low-income,” McNeil said. “That’s something provincial governments can bring in tomorrow.”

Halman says that there is nothing he can do to off-set a carbon tax if Ottawa chooses to implement one. However, the province will control its revenues.

“As a province, we want to have that control over revenue recycling because we know Nova Scotia best,” he said.

In the meantime, there’s no solid deadline for the government to approve or reject Halman’s proposal.

Source: CTV News ATLANTIC