New Brunswick defends climate change plan while McKenna raises concerns

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FREDERICTON — The federal environment minister is suggesting that New Brunswick’s approach to carbon pricing won’t meet Ottawa’s requirements, but Premier Brian Gallant is defending his plan.

The province has released a plan that will see existing gasoline and diesel taxes repurposed for a climate change fund, rather than adding a new carbon tax.

But in a post on her Facebook page, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says without adding a new tax, New Brunswick’s plan does not create a new incentive to cut carbon pollution.

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She says Ottawa will assess each jurisdiction’s approach to carbon pricing next year, and if any fall short of federal benchmarks, Ottawa will impose a carbon tax.

Gallant says New Brunswick increased its gas taxes in 2015 before talks on carbon pricing began, and shouldn’t have to increase the tax again.

He says New Brunswick has already exceeded its 2030 emission targets and is doing more than many provinces to combat climate change.

The Canadian Press

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