Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 21, 2016 - 4:00 pm

Once again, northern premiers say no, nay, never to a carbon tax

“Nunavut is already the most expensive place to live in Canada"

SARAH ROGERS
Canada's premiers, including Nunavut premier Peter Taptuna (fourth from left) pose at the site of the SS Klondike in Whitehorse this week. The Council of the Federation is meeting in Whitehorse July 20-22. (PHOTO COURTESY OF COF)
Canada's premiers, including Nunavut premier Peter Taptuna (fourth from left) pose at the site of the SS Klondike in Whitehorse this week. The Council of the Federation is meeting in Whitehorse July 20-22. (PHOTO COURTESY OF COF)

As discussions on climate change and the economy ramp up at a meeting of Canada’s premiers this week, Nunavut Premier Taptuna and his counterparts in the Northwest Territories and Yukon have re-iterated their opposition to a national carbon tax.

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski is hosting Taptuna, NWT Premier Bob MacLeod and the premiers of the country’s other 10 provinces July 20 to July 22 in Whitehorse, where the premiers are discussing economic growth, trade, health care and climate change.

It’s the first Council of the Federation meeting hosted in the North, the region of Canada arguably hit hardest by a warming climate.

The three territorial leaders said it earlier this year and they’re saying it again: they want help adapting to climate change, but they believe that raising the price of greenhouse gas emissions through a carbon tax will only hurt the northern economy.

Any national approach to a proposed carbon tax should take into account issues like food security and the cost of living in Canada’s North, particularly Nunavut, Taptuna said.

“Nunavut is already the most expensive place to live and do business anywhere in Canada,” Taptuna said in a July 21 release put out by all three territorial governments.

“All manufactured goods are imported and it isn’t sustainable to essentially pay a carbon tax twice in our limited economy.”

Canada’s northern territories aren’t the only ones pushing back — premiers from Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces have also expressed concern over the impact that carbon pricing could have at home.

Canada’s national strategy on climate change isn’t due until the fall but federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said earlier this week that a price on carbon emissions would be put in place by the end of 2016.

Ottawa hasn’t yet said if it plans to impose that pricing on every province and territory.

The premiers argue that it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, noting greenhouse gas emissions from the northern territories are minute and that their governments have already sunk money into adaptation and repairs to infrastructure affected by climate change.

The Council of the Federation meetings wrap up July 22.

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