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Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “While some Canadian Premier are heading to the First Ministers’ Meeting looking for Ottawa to deal with the economic impact on oil-producing provinces of a top-down carbon pricing scheme,
Thursday, December 6, 2018

St. John’s, NL (December 6, 2018) – Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “While some Canadian Premier are heading to the First Ministers’ Meeting looking for Ottawa to deal with the economic impact on oil-producing provinces of a top-down carbon pricing scheme, among other issues, it is unclear what  Premier Ball has as priorities for  Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“The Premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick are lining up to fight the carbon tax that the Ball government accepted from Ottawa as it added another tax to the inventory of taxes currently set in this province beginning in 2016.  In addition, the Saskatchewan and Alberta Premiers are fighting Bill C-69, which will worsen the crisis in oil-producing provinces that include Newfoundland and Labrador, and erode Newfoundland and Labrador’s rights under the Atlantic Accord.  Again, no sign we will partner with other provinces to fight the federal Liberals.”

“Premier Ball has been silent on Bill C-69 despite its potential to crush our oil industry, and he has refused to fight the Trudeau carbon tax, choosing instead to impose yet another burden on the overtaxed people and economy of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Hutchings.

“The federal government’s rollover of Equalization to 2024, with no protest from our provincial government, is another example of ‘no fight,’ and the people of our province just pay more taxes.”

“Other provinces have written to the Prime Minister and made a strong case in the public arena for their own interests, but who is supposed to speak up for Newfoundland and Labrador at this First Ministers meeting?  Other Premiers have been firm on shaping the agenda for their provinces, but Newfoundland and Labrador is not being heard.”

Hutchings said priorities for Newfoundland and Labrador should include:

  • a renewed Atlantic Accord that makes our province the principal beneficiary of oil, not a reduction of control under Bill C-69.
  • a reformed Equalization program that balances tax burdens and services,
  • a reformed health and social transfer program based on need rather than population,
  • a promised $400 million fisheries fund unique to Newfoundland and Labrador for recognition of the removal of Minimum Processing Requirements,
  • a joint fisheries management plan to ensure no giveaway of fishery resources, such as was recently seen with surf clams,
  • an Energy East electricity plan that allows and promotes unrestricted electricity transmission rights recognition under the Canada Free Trade Agreement, and
  • the need to cancel the carbon tax, among other issues.

“Three years of not being heard on the national stage is paying the wrong dividends to our province. It is time to be heard on items of interest to out province on the Canadian stage. The Ball government has not been delivering what this province needs, and we have been slipping behind on being heard. We have always had governments of all political stripes challenge and fight Ottawa on what matters. We are losing our way at a time when we should be partnering with other provincial leaders on areas of provincial interest, not worrying about upsetting politicians in Ottawa.”

Contacts:
Bradley Russell
Director of Policy and Research
(p) 1.709.729.3668
(c) 1.709.685.3161
BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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