Regional carbon tax a consideration: P.E.I. Environment Minister

Teresa Wright
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FILE PHOTO: Maritime Electric stacks.

Robert Mitchell says he, his Atlantic counterparts met recently to discuss strategies on climate change

The Atlantic provinces have begun preliminary talks on a possible carbon tax for the region.

P.E.I. Environment Minister Robert Mitchell says during recent federal-provincial meetings of environment ministers in Ottawa, he and his Atlantic counterparts met separately to discuss regional strategies to tackling climate change.

Those talks included a discussion on a regional approach to carbon pricing.

“We had a great discussion on it, certainly nothing nailed down. But we had some open and frank discussion on that at a side table on a couple of different occasions,” Mitchell said.

A carbon tax is a tax on greenhouse gas emissions generated from burning fuels. It puts a price on each tonne of greenhouse gas with the aim of reducing those emissions.

Currently, the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan are the only provinces in Canada without a comprehensive plan to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

British Columbia and Manitoba have carbon tax policies and Alberta has recently unveiled a plan to impose a tax on carbon beginning in 2017.

Ontario also rolled out a cap-and-trade plan with a system of credits that will tax carbon starting in 2017. This plan mirrors one already in place in Quebec.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has spoken out against the idea of a carbon tax, favouring instead a less aggressive carbon levy that targets only heavy emitters.

The federal government has so far left it up to the provinces to come up with their own methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has said a national climate change plan would put a price on carbon.

Mitchell stresses each province faces unique challenges when it comes to climate change and its effects. Prince Edward Island, for example, is losing its coastline at a rate of 43 centimetres on average every year.

That’s why he says a regional approach to carbon pricing might make sense, to ensure the individual needs and challenges of this province and region will be taken into account.

“Those discussions I had off to the side with our Atlantic counterparts were to say, ‘what are our similarities, what are our differences?’ What collectively could we do?’, “ Mitchell said.

“It was a pretty broad range discussion, but if in fact we did do some sort of price on carbon, what would you do with that? How could you spin that back in to make a big difference? If you put a price on, I’ll say, oil or oil products, when you take that margin of what the price is, how do we effectively spin that back through to our buildings or our vehicles to make them more (efficient) …. We’re small, how do we make a difference? And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Canada British Columbia Manitoba Alberta Ontario Quebec Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • tax-dog
    February 14, 2016 - 17:55

    these taxes are being stuff down our throat along with give aways to other countries and loads of refugees to support, - no wonder people throw up, when they see and hear Trudeau. Debt, debt and more debt, - petty our poor kids.

  • stop the presses
    February 14, 2016 - 17:49

    Never mind REGIONAL , no, no, no, - we are not a 'union', so as long as we are NOT, then we need to be able to hold our own elected members responsible for all taxes levied on Islander at the provincial level. We want our government held to account of the taxes they force us to pay. Somebody elected these b...., who is keeping the knife to our throat tax-wise , - now let us see them tell us they are grabbing from us again. The whole liberal tribe is killing Canada with refugees and give away to foreign countries and buying favour at the United Nations. Every time Trudeau opens his mouth is it to give more away.

  • ralph
    February 14, 2016 - 17:42

    This is very creative, that way each Premier can blame the others for inventing and increasing the taxes, they have invented. The whole environmental business is just that, a business, - supported totally by grabbing more money from the people. There is no real efforts to cut the emission etc. Look at all the Christmas trees we light up on every street corner for two months of the year. No cut back on government travel, quite the opposite, right from the Prime Minister and down. The paper waste is enormous in government, and buildings are declared obsolete left and right. I think the people of PEI should insist on our own tax arrangement, - otherwise we will be neutered.

  • holding my hands in the air
    February 14, 2016 - 09:32

    Ummmmm a new way to steal our money. Aren't they a creative lot when it comes to robbing the people. What's next an air tax to go along with the carbon tax.

  • mad as hell
    February 14, 2016 - 08:13

    Here is a counter-point to the "carbon" issue from - of all people - the founder of Grenepeace. Carbon taxes and things of that ilk are why I'm leaving this country and taking my pension with me.

  • Climate Changer
    February 13, 2016 - 23:02

    And just how is a carbon TAX supposed to reduce carbon emissions? Balderdash.

  • up easterner
    February 13, 2016 - 19:45

    As Bernie sanders would say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALL READY"!!! You you mind looking some where else (public sector employees MAYBE) for a change and leave us poor B--t---s alone!!!! Really tired of getting shafted!!

  • Rediculous
    February 13, 2016 - 18:12

    Another b.s. Tax from the liberals. It will likely only apply to home owners; cavendish farms will be exempt of course because they will raise hell if it applys to them. The little guy gets the shaft again.

  • Tired of Being Used
    February 13, 2016 - 16:06

    This is just another cash grab so the Lieberals can recupe some of the loans handed out to party friends that have been written off and magically become grants. This pillaging of the public purse of PEI has to stop. It seems like the Premiers of PEI, NB and NS are working together as one collective group to come up with more ideas to burden the tax payers of their respective provinces. Try putting a stop to the handing out of $millions to party leeches and you may just find there'll be plenty of money for essential services.

  • Elizabeth Woodworth
    February 13, 2016 - 14:31

    Dr. James Hansen’s elegant 3-minute explanation of a carbon tax (at COP21) shows why it works best. See 39:35 minutes at my inside COP-21 documentary:

  • JUST a Tax Grab
    February 13, 2016 - 13:27

    JUST another tax burden on Islanders ,we are taxed to death..Regional carbon tax=money out of our wallets everytime we go to the pumps,get an oil change etc.......Whether you tax islanders or not you are not going to stop erosion of our coasts ,it been happening for a thousand years....We do not have the heavy industry that is the biggest offender of these emissions.... A TAX grab at best.... between proroguing the legislature , HST, travel costs around the world for nothing but site seeing trips and pay raises ..this GOVT is doing what it wants.....and we are paying for it.

  • Jimmy Buffet
    February 13, 2016 - 10:36

    We are taxed out , find the money somewhere else like MLAs pension plan . We even pay an "environment fee" when we buy engine oil , filters or antifreeze ! Whose a$$ did that come out of ???

  • James
    February 13, 2016 - 09:51

    Another Minister traveling around trying to justify his position. Stope the BS Stop comparing PEI to the other Provinces, thay are larger, more poplulation, more jobs etc. PEI is over taxed, to many MLAS, no employement, bad wages and many hard working ISLANDERS trying to make a lving. So, all you big shots get a lfe

    February 13, 2016 - 09:25

    If you read the last paragraph they are talking about another tax on oil and oil products. Furnace oil, gasoline, diesel, oil changes in your car, etc, etc. Certainly appears to be another tax grab on vertually everything that is produced with oil.

  • EL Douglas
    February 13, 2016 - 09:17

    This is not about the environment, this is about this liberal government trying to find another source for revenue! There really can't be much left for the liberals to tax!

    February 13, 2016 - 09:13

    It appears that the only idea you people are capable of is bringing in new taxes. As one comment stated, how is giving you more money to give away and throw away on stupid schemes going to stop the erosion, and please don't try and say that the extra taxes would be used to help the enviroment, as we all know you will be looking for more in another 6 months.

  • kyle
    February 13, 2016 - 09:08

    hey it seems Ns Nb an pei are working together but only to raise taxes first the hst now carbon.

  • same story
    February 13, 2016 - 07:22

    That is bull crap . Higher HST and now a carbon tax . The Liebrils at their best!

  • kyle
    February 13, 2016 - 07:06

    and pei has so many big companies causing all the carbon we should be far as the ocean washing away how is the government taking more money from us going to bring it back