Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 05, 2018 - 11:30 am

Nunavut MLA decries GN’s $15M carbon tax windfall

“These revenues are based on someone else deciding to impose a tax”

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said that by allowing the federal government to impose a carbon tax on Nunavut by default, the GN may be relinquishing control over how it's administered. Ottawa's backstop carbon tax is expected to dump an extra $15 million into the GN's coffers next year. The GN has the authority to decide how to spend that money, but it's not clear if the GN will have any say over who will be taxed and how.(FILE PHOTO)
Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said that by allowing the federal government to impose a carbon tax on Nunavut by default, the GN may be relinquishing control over how it's administered. Ottawa's backstop carbon tax is expected to dump an extra $15 million into the GN's coffers next year. The GN has the authority to decide how to spend that money, but it's not clear if the GN will have any say over who will be taxed and how.(FILE PHOTO)

By refusing to put its own price on carbon emissions, the Government of Nunavut has likely handed control over the process to the federal government, Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said last Friday in the Nunavut legislature.

Hickes made the comment in response to a statement on May 30 from Finance Minister David Akeeagok.

In that statement, Akeeagok said Nunavut is opposed to a carbon tax and will not create its own carbon pricing system.

Instead, the GN will let the federal government collect its own backstop carbon tax and give the money back to the GN. That means that next year, the GN will get an extra $15 million in revenue.

But Hickes, on June 1, said that represents a relinquishing of control over how planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions are taxed and administered in Nunavut.

“In the minister’s statement, the government was celebrating $15 million in new revenue. Mr. Speaker, this is an empty celebration. These revenues are based on someone else deciding to impose a tax, increasing an already high cost of living for Nunavummiut,” Hickes said.

The MLA went on to ask Akeeagok if the federal government will grant exemptions to groups that could be hurt by the imposition of a carbon tax in Nunavut.

“Other jurisdictions have exempted certain groups or industries in their carbon tax plan. By relinquishing control over a tax on our residents to an outside jurisdiction, are there discussions imploring the federal government to provide exemptions to such groups as harvesters feeding their communities?” Hickes said.

Akeeagok responded by saying that “a very high level” working group of civil servants from Nunavut and the federal government are working on questions like that, and are trying to figure out how to administer the backstop carbon tax in the territory.

He said the GN is seeking exemptions for things like aviation fuel and home heating oil.

“There are a number of exemptions that we would like to see, such as aviation fuel. We don’t have a choice of flying our food here,” Akeeagok said.

However, the group that’s working on the issue is still in the middle of its discussions, he said.

The backstop carbon tax will charge $10 per tonne for carbon emissions in its first year, but will rise to $50 per tonne by 2022.

That will cost Nunavut households a total of $3 million in the first year and rise to $11 million a year by 2022, according to a report done for Nunavut by the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.

For households, the financial impact for 2018 is estimated like this:

• Bottom third of household income earners: $120 per year.

• Middle third of household income earners: $360 per year.

• Top third of household income earners: $535 per year.

Carbon Pricing Analysis—Nunavut by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

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(7) Comments:

#1. Posted by Northern Inuit on June 05, 2018

keep up the fight George!

finally happy to see someone at the Ledge bringing up this horrible tax that will do nothing but hurt the people of Nunavut.

how else will we fly our food and people around?  how else will we power our homes?  how else will we heat our homes? 

can we go to Canadian Tire and buy the nice solar panels and have them installed the same day?  who will fix them when they break down?  who will service them when they are not working properly?

#2. Posted by Jim MacDonald on June 05, 2018

Is it confirmed, GST will be charged on top of the carbon tax? Further snowballing the cost to Nunavut households.

#3. Posted by Ours not yours on June 05, 2018

What a piece of work. The minister of finance is so disconnected from his constituents, it’s embarrassing.
15m generated in revenue based on a tax scheme that doesn’t work for Nunavummiut.
How much of that will go to mining and exploration companies so that they have an easier time exploiting our lands and our resources for their benefit and not ours?
We’re still just a colony to the rest of Canada.

#4. Posted by sled dog on June 05, 2018

It’s a Liberal tax grab. no other explanation required.

#5. Posted by Northern Guy on June 05, 2018

I have said it before and I will say it again. It is the height of hypocrisy for a government which purports to be environmentally focused to unilaterally impose a Carbon tax on Nunavut making one of the most expensive jurisdictions even more expensive with miniscule results in terms of reducing Canada’s carbon footprint. When that same government just used $4.5 BILLION of Canadian taxpayers’ money to buy an oil pipeline that will massively exacerbate the global effects of climate change.

#6. Posted by Norther Inuit on June 05, 2018

no doubt Northern Guy, it’s embarrassing that our liberal government will gladly introduce this carbon tax but has no compunction of purchasing a huge pipeline that is a huge slap in the face of this very tax.

yet our liberal government is doing nothing to help the good people of Thompson Manitoba who are struggling with the lifeline of the railway which has failed?  or the east coast energy pipleline?

I voted Liberal in the last election on hopes that this Government would do us proud.  would lead us into the next generation of proud Canadians.

yet climate change Barbie and his Princess have gone on numerous Vacations embarrassing us by bollywood dancing in India and dressing up like some east indian movie stars.  going on lavish vacations on our dime.  outright thumbing his nose in the very people who voted him in. 

no more liberals in 2019.  count me in.

#7. Posted by Plus ca change on June 05, 2018

This is a regressive tax.  It takes proportionately more from those who have the least.

Will the GN use the $15,000,000 to buy wool and give it to people on Income Support so they can knit sweaters to stay warm?

Or will the GN give the money to private home owners to pay for better insulation of their homes so they can reduce their heating bill?

Or will the GN give the money to a consulting firm to report on the feasibility of moving Nunavut communities to where there are geothermal steam vents, like those used in Iceland for heating and generating electricity?

The best we can hope for is that some of the money gets back to the poorest of those from whom it will be taken.

I suspect this will be a case of tax the poor and reward the rich.

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