The impact of the carbon tax on improving quality of life across the country will be one of the key topics discussed by provincial and territorial premiers at a meeting in Halifax on Monday.
There will be at least one notable absentee: François Legault. Quebec’s premier announced he would not be attending that meeting due to “a scheduling conflict,” his press secretary Ewan Sauves told The Canadian Press on Friday. Monday, November 6th is also a strike day in Quebec.
This issue gained traction when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a temporary exemption for heating oil in October. The Liberals defended the measure, saying it wanted to ensure low-income Canadians had the time and money to upgrade to electric heat pumps.
The measure will only apply in the ten provinces and territories where the federal carbon tax applies. This does not apply to Quebec, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, which have their own tax system.
British Columbia Premier David Eby, who was already in Halifax, said the decision was unfair.
“I don’t blame Atlantic Canadians for being able to get heating oil exempt and no longer having to pay a big bill with every delivery. But I am unhappy that the people of British Columbia who live in the same conditions do not have the opportunity to also have a heat pump.
In a press release, Ontario Premier Doug Ford railed against the carbon tax and called on the federal government to “do the right thing” and eliminate it across the country.
“It’s time for the federal government to work with the provinces to combat inflation,” he said. This includes being fair to all Canadians, no matter how well they heat their homes. People are struggling to make ends meet and everyone deserves a ceasefire.”
Other topics expected to be on the agenda include reform of Canada’s bail system, health care and Alberta’s desire to exit the Canada Pension Plan.
Nova Scotia Premier and meeting host Tim Houston had already announced that health would be the main item on the agenda. He indicated that one of his priorities was the recruitment of health professionals. Should provinces compete in this area?
Mr. Houston said he had asked his health ministry to stop recruiting in other provinces. “The rest of the planet is pretty big. There are several qualified people,” he said.
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