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In the Legislative Assembly on February 9th, 2024. See this topic in context.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

Kate Reid

Kate Reid Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, although I'm sure she's tired of repeating herself, can the Minister of Finance please briefly explain to the House why the GNWT's carbon tax legislative regime is the better option for Northerners? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Member from Great Slave. Minister of Finance.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll try to be brief. Mr. Speaker, it maintains flexibility in how the revenues are used by the Government of the Northwest Territories, in short. So much as I had feared, the federal government, of course, once again changed their goalposts first back in April, which is what led to some lengthy discussions in this House in the last Assembly, and then again in the fall. And they changed those goalposts based on political priorities. They're set from Ottawa and by a different government.

By hanging on to the system by administering it ourselves here, we were able to do the tiered approach which means that rather than allowing the calculation of what amount should go to residents done elsewhere, it is done by our government and it's done to align and accord with the amounts of tax being paid by residents in different regions. It allowed us to use 10 percent of our net revenue and share that directly with communities, which is something unique to our system. And it's also allowed us to maintain a system that recognizes how our industrial system works, how our industrial part of the economy works; namely, the three operating diamond mines, which really are the revenue generating source here, yet they will be probably submitting less under the federal system but have a significant administrative burden and any incoming mines that we might have would not see the benefits of that system. So maintaining that control here, Mr. Speaker, has allowed us to ensure residents are seeing their carbon tax burden offset while also ensuring that we have an economy for tomorrow. Thank you.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

Kate Reid

Kate Reid Great Slave

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Minister for that answer. As I'm sure the Minister's aware that constituents are confused. My constituents who thought they were making greener, smarter moves by switching to propane are, to put it mildly, frustrated by this carbon tax exemption for just diesel-based home heating fuel.

So my question to the Minister is will she commit to seeking exemptions from the federal government for all home heating options in the North? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

February 9th, 2024

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think people across Canada expressed frustration at the decision to exempt only one form of heating fuel and not others that are arguably greener. And, again, this is where I suggest that that's a question to take up with the federal government, not us. We find ourselves operating within that system. And where I'd like us to get to, Mr. Speaker, while we want to ensure that residents of the North, where our alternatives can sometimes be costly and few between, aren't facing an unnecessary carbon tax burden. We want to ensure that our offset payments continue to cover the anticipated average amount of carbon tax no matter the heating fuel. We want to get to a place where we're providing more options and encouraging people to use those options so they can get to a place where they're using greener options for heating, whether it's propane or LNG or whether it's biomass, but also looking at their transportation use. So what are we doing in terms of finding greener and cleaner ways? Transportation is one of the biggest sources of carbon tax because it's one of the biggest sources of GHG emissions. So, again, certainly don't want to discourage people from doing that. Long term, that's how we're going to see bigger savings. Thank you.

Question 40-20(1): Government of the Northwest Territories Carbon Taxation
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Oral questions. Member from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.