The Yukon government says it will consult with Yukoners on the upcoming federal carbon tax but details about when that might happen are still not available.
Economic Development and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai said he’s planning more meetings with various organizations like the chambers of commerce and the chamber of mines sometime between now and the end of the month.
“I’m going to be having conversations with groups that are under my responsibility, which includes many Yukoners, between now and June 30,” he said.
That’s the deadline for Canadians to comment on the federal government’s technical paper, which lays out plans for a carbon price “backstop” for jurisdictions that haven’t come up with their own plan by 2018.
Yukoners can comment on the technical paper via the federal environment department’s website.
The Yukon government will be holding broader public consultations on the topic, Pillai said. But according to cabinet officials that won’t be happening until some time after June.
The federal government has promised to look at the North’s unique circumstances when it comes to a carbon tax and possibly implement “sector specific” exemptions.
“Following this initial input phase (in June), the Yukon government will work with the federal government to give Yukoners an opportunity to provide input on the implementation of federal carbon pricing,” Yukon government spokesperson Janine Workman said in an email.
Pillai said the government will be having conversations throughout the year as information comes from Ottawa.
“We’ve made that commitment, and we’ve been given that directive, that as we have information come in from Ottawa we take that back and consult to really understand how some of these strategies will affect sectors.”
The Yukon Party has spent the majority of this first sitting of the legislative assembly pushing the government for more details on the carbon tax plan.
The focus June 6 was on whether Yukoners would have GST they pay on carbon tax returned to them.
“In January and again in April, we asked the government to confirm that they will ensure Yukoners also get this money back, but we have not received an answer yet,” said Opposition Leader Stacey Hassard.
“Can the government commit today that every single Yukoner will get (back) 100 per cent of the extra money they pay as a result of the carbon tax, including the increased amount they pay into the GST?”
Pillai replied that the government is still working with Ottawa.
“As this process continues on, we continue to work with the federal government on the analysis, which is key to those questions that have been asked today and to the future implementation of this carbon-pricing backstop.”
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