Ministers from all four provinces in Atlantic Canada want the federal government to disclose the true cost of its planned second carbon tax.

The energy ministers from Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia said in a joint letter they do not support the proposed Clean Fuel Standard in its current form.

“While we support efforts to reduce emissions, we have some shared concerns about the proposed Clean Fuel Standard (CFS), and the impact it will have on the Atlantic economy and on Atlantic Canadians who have the highest levels of energy poverty in Canada,” reads the letter. 

“Statistics Canada data shows 13 percent of Atlantic Canadians experience energy poverty compared to the Canadian average of eight per cent.”

The Clean Fuel Standard is a regulation that will be imposed on energy producers, raising the price of carbon emissions by between $150 and $180 per tonne. The current carbon tax costs Canadians $50 per tonne.

Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has already made it clear that the Trudeau government will move forward with the standard regardless of the pandemic.

In Atlantic Canada, heating oil is commonly used in homes and other fossil fuels are predominantly used in energy production. Newfoundland and Labrador has historically paid more for gasoline than the rest of Canada.

“These impacts will occur at a critical time as our economies are already struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the ministers wrote.

The Atlantic provinces are asking the federal government to perform a detailed cost-benefit analysis and determine the actual effects the Clean Fuel Standard will have before implementing it. No such studies have been done yet.

Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy, told True North Fellow Anthony Furey that the letter from Atlantic premiers is necessary given how ignorant the federal government has been to the damage they may cause.

“Their conclusion that Ottawa has failed to provide a proper cost-benefit analysis, which we estimate will hurt Canadians by a factor of six to one, speaks to just how damaging this policy will be as Trudeau attempts to ram through another devastating carbon tax that will hurt the country’s most impoverished regions at precisely the wrong time,” McTeague said.

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