QP – Carbon Tax

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

October 4, 2017

Study on Impact of Carbon Tax—Nunavut

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the government leader in the Senate about the looming imposition of a carbon tax in Nunavut, and forgive me for calling it a carbon tax and not carbon pricing.

In April 2017, I asked you a question about whether or not Nunavut would be given a reprieve, a delay from the 2018 deadline for implementing a carbon tax in Nunavut, which, as you know, is totally dependent on imported petroleum products to support everyday living — heat, electricity and transportation — for a total of 209 million litres per year. I was told in your reply — and thank you for that — that a joint study is under way on the impact of carbon pricing in Nunavut, expected to be completed this fall. And it’s based on the federal government’s promise to work with the territories to find solutions that address their unique circumstances, including the high cost of living, energy, challenges with food security and emerging economies.

When will that study be complete?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): The expectation of the government is that this study will be completed this fall.

Senator Patterson: So there is no study information on the impact of a carbon tax on the territory with the highest cost of living in Canada right now. We have a 16.3 per cent unemployment rate, and we have an election under way for October 30, with the formation of a new government late in the current year.

Considering the unique circumstances of Nunavut, which are addressed in the Pan-Canadian Framework, the unfortunate timing of no impact study and a looming election, will your government please consider extending the deadline for Nunavut to have a carbon tax in place by January 1, 2018, under the Pan-Canadian Framework?

Senator Harder: Again I thank the honourable senator for his question and suggestion.

It is the hope of the Government of Canada that the negotiations and discussions that are presently under way can lead to a path forward in a time frame that is consistent with the commitments being made. With respect to the suggestion of a delay, I’ll bring that to the attention of those who are responsible and determine whether or not that request is part of the discussions and, indeed, part of the conclusions of the report.