TAGGART: Liberal Party's carbon tax hurts rural Nova Scotians most

The following is an op-ed by Tom Taggart, PC MLA for Colchester North:

If you live outside of downtown Halifax like I do, your opinions about the province are a lot different from those in the city. That was apparent in a recent op-ed by Andy Fillmore, Liberal MP for Halifax.

He wrote to convince Nova Scotians that his Liberal Party’s plan to force a carbon tax on Nova Scotians is a good thing. That’s the plan that will drive gas prices up 14 cents per litre.

I’ve had the honour of representing my community in Colchester County for years as a Councillor before becoming the MLA for Colchester North in 2021. Unlike Mr. Fillmore, my constituents and I can’t walk to work. Hopping on a bike isn’t realistic. And frankly, most in my community are not able to buy a Tesla or another electric vehicle anytime soon. Personally, I’ve been driving a Prius for the past 8 years.

The goal of the carbon tax is to change “habits,” but driving is simply not something rural Nova Scotians can “give up.” A 14 cent per litre carbon tax imposed by the Liberals is going to hurt everyone outside of downtown Halifax. In fact, the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer said earlier this year that most households will be worse off financially because of the carbon tax. That’s not what Mr. Fillmore and the Liberals would have us believe. They say just about everyone will get refund cheques and be better off. That will certainly not be the case for rural Nova Scotians.

Like most Nova Scotians, I support measures to protect our environment. For decades, there has been cross-party agreement in Nova Scotia about implementing policies that reduce emissions. That cooperation resulted in efforts to dramatically reduce our reliance on coal to generate electricity, and instead develop renewable energy resources.

It’s because of our efforts to reduce our reliance on coal that we reduced our emissions 36 per cent below 2005 levels — the second highest reduction in the country. We’re paying for that already though, through our electricity rates.

We are also a province that relies heavily on oil to heat our homes. A carbon tax will only drive up the cost of staying warm through the winter months further. While some Nova Scotians are able to switch their homes to other fuel sources, many more cannot budget for that right now.

Our PC Government has a made-in-Nova Scotia plan that is better than a carbon tax and will reduce emissions while ensuring Nova Scotians are hit with higher gas prices.

I understand that from downtown Halifax, Mr. Fillmore’s view of the province may make it seem like Nova Scotians can afford to pay more tax for driving to work and the grocery store.

All of us who don’t live in the city know that’s not the case.

Tom Taggart
MLA, Colchester North