Response to the federal government’s decision regarding its Climate Change Plan
Prince Edward Island is a leader in environmental stewardship – we believe Islanders are creative, hard-working and committed to climate leadership.
Our plan has always been to meet our climate change targets while protecting the pocket books of Islanders.
Today, the federal government announced it has committed to a two-year agreement on climate change with our province. This plan will meet our climate change targets and not cost Islanders any more. In fact, Islanders will continue to save through our incentives.
We have been consistent – to offer Islanders more affordable ways to reduce their energy consumption. This plan is working, and Islanders are saving money while turning to more environmentally-friendly forms of energy.
Already 2,100 Islanders have taken advantage of the rebate program on heat pumps. Additionally, Islanders have saved $10 million with the 10 per cent rebate on electricity.
The federal government has recognized the success of our plan and, as a result, home heating fuels on Prince Edward Island will be exempt from any price on carbon.
This means that thanks to our plan, Islanders will not pay more to heat their homes. Keeping taxes off home heating is something our government has championed. This plan will save Islanders $38.7 million directly.
While we are pleased to see the federal government accept this portion of our plan, we are disappointed that they are requiring a price on gasoline and diesel, of four cents a litre. We disagree with this approach, and will offset it so that our plan won’t cost Islanders anything more.
Without this approach, the federal government made it clear to us in the past few days that Islanders would have been forced to pay more to heat their homes.
We will reduce our gasoline excise tax so that the impact at the pumps is minimal – one cent in 2019 and another cent in 2020, and we will return every single cent collected to Islanders.
In fact, we will ask the Auditor General to review the funds each year to confirm that all of the revenue collected has been returned to Islanders.
The other option – imposing the federal backstop – would have resulted in a large tax burden for Islanders worth $46 million, including on home heating in excess of $18 million.
Prince Edward Island is the most rural province in Canada. Residents don’t have the option of taking a subway or train to get to work. There are 500 trucks crossing the Confederation Bridge each day, taking goods to market and creating jobs for Islanders.
Government will work with the trucking industry to develop innovative solutions to reducing emissions. It will work to provide incentives to drivers to reduce pollution.
Our government stands with Islanders in fighting climate change while protecting their pocketbooks.
We know that Islanders are concerned about the environment – from our shrinking shorelines to protecting our water, to the effects of climate change on crops.
We will continue to combat the negative effects of climate change without placing the burden on the backs of Islanders.
Executive Director of Public Affairs