The provincial Ministry of Finance has responded to Flin Flon City Council’s request for information on carbon taxation.
Council received a letter as correspondence during their Jan. 29 meeting from the ministry following concerns expressed with a potential province-wide carbon tax during the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) convention in Winnipeg last year.
Instead of following most other Canadian provinces in adapting a federally allowable carbon tax scheme, Manitoba has chosen to take their own path, coming up instead with the Manitoba Clean and Green Plan. In the letter, signed by provincial finance minister Scott Fielding, it is suggested that the Manitoba plan would cost consumers far less than a proposed federal plan. The plan has not received federal approval and does not match long-term guidelines set out by the federal government for emissions targets.
Equivalent extra prices on fuels, including between a five-cent and six-cent per litre increase on gas and a 6.7 cent per litre increase on diesel, were proposed as early parts of the plan.
When asked about the letter and the issue, Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley argued that Manitoba and northerners should receive a reprieve from the tax, saying that carbon emissions in the north are offset by the use of renewable hydroelectricity.
“We believe that Manitoba, being one of the greener if not one of the greenest provinces in Canada, with the amount of hydro-electrical power that we have up here, there should be credits for that, so it’s not an across the board type thing,” Huntley said.
“In all honesty, I think Manitoba should be exempt from that, given the bulk of the hydro power that’s in place. That’s clean energy. We’ve had that conversation with them, in regards to impact on industry, which is challenged already.”
Huntley said he had spoken to the premier and asked if he would consider partnering with provincial governments in Saskatchewan and Ontario, both of which have come out in opposition of a carbon tax.
Recent cold weather proved treacherous for a senior citizen, according to Flin Flon city councillor Colleen McKee.
During the council meeting, McKee said she was heading to the Flin Flon Aqua Centre Jan. 20 when the pair found an older woman improperly dressed for the cold conditions who had fallen down and couldn’t get up.
“It was extremely cold, minus 51 or something with the windchill,” said McKee.
“No one could see her. Had we not walked that day, I believe she would have succumbed to the elements. We helped her up and got her into the church.”
The woman had apparently tried to cross a side street before falling on ice. McKee said people need to prepare during cold weather, even for short trips.