Opposition questions omission of carbon pricing from provincial budget

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Opposition questions omission of carbon pricing from provincial budget

In the provincial legislature Thursday, the official opposition questioned government about why possible revenue from carbon pricing was not mentioned in the 2017-18 budget.

The federal government has given provinces a deadline of January 1, 2018 to implement carbon pricing.

"Why is there no contingency for it in the budget? This budget is covering part of the year that will have carbon tax, and what is this government's plan for that?" said PC MLA Darlene Compton in an interview following question period.

Wait to see what other provinces do

Compton questioned Finance Minister Allen Roach during question period about why there is no mention of carbon pricing in the 2017-18 budget.

Roach said that he doesn't want to rush the process. He noted that other Atlantic provinces haven't announced their carbon pricing plans either, and government wants to wait "to see what deals the other provinces are going to cut."

"This is one of those situations where I think it's imperative that we don't get out ahead of the other provinces, that we don't make quick decisions," said Roach.

'We're not sitting doing nothing'

Compton said with just over eight months left before the January 1 deadline, islanders should know what carbon pricing will look like, and how it will affect them.

"As families, how are they going to budget for another tax?" said Compton.

Roach said by taking more time to determine its carbon pricing plans, he hopes the pricing system will be "as good as it can be" for people on P.E.I.

"We're not sitting doing nothing. We're looking at a number of different ways that the carbon pricing could be applied. We're looking at, you know, if we look at one way, we say okay how does that affect low income islanders? How does that affect industry?" said Roach.

Roach said he expects the process of looking into carbon pricing options, and what to choose for P.E.I., to continue into the fall.

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