Edmonton area MPs have been talking to business, and the common concern expressed is the unknown about how the carbon tax will impact their bottom line. Most MPs have been holding round table meetings ahead of next spring’s federal budget.
“It’s one of the biggest issues I’m hearing from my constituents is the carbon tax, layered on top of other tax increases,” said St Albert Conservative Michael Cooper.
Final details on how carbon taxes are harmonized should be ironed out in a first minister’s meeting before the end of the year. That’s according to Edmonton-Centre MP and parliamentary secretary to the Heritage Minister, Randy Boissonnault, who has been holding his own meetings.
“There’s going to be a harmonization there so we’ll see what the specifics are on the ground after the first ministers’ conference.”
The election of Donald Trump hasn’t meant much in the way of firm answers Boissonnault said, because appointments to key U.S. cabinet posts are still away’s away in January. “There’s lots of unknown. We know that we’re moving forward with a first ministers’ conference and the provinces and territories have already set their plans in motion.”
Boissonnault said the Liberals target is to improve debt to GDP over the years, by growing the economy. He pointed to Immigration Minister John McCallum’s increased immigration projections as one way of moving the numbers.
“Making sure the government doesn’t do handouts, but that we have incentives for growth. How can we help Edmonton businesses scale up? We’ve seen some really good success stories in Edmonton. Keeping the tax code simple. Making sure that businesses understand what programs and grants are available. That idea of making sure as a government we incentivize growth was something that really stuck with me.”
Boissonnault didn’t give a specific date on the first ministers’ meeting, only to say the current plan is to get together to harmonize the carbon tax before Christmas.
Cooper remains skeptical. “The consequence of that is it’s going to result in hurting Alberta’s economy at a time when we’re down and it’s going to kill jobs in Alberta.”
He said Conservatives are preparing their own pre-budget submission which will be ready in the new year.