Alberta Premier Daniel Smith joined national leaders Monday in calling for Ottawa’s carbon pricing policy to be fairer.
Nearly all of Canada’s prime ministers and territorial leaders gathered in Halifax for a two-day conference focused on the impact of health care and carbon pricing policies on rising costs of living.
On Monday after the meeting, the premiers from all of Canada except Quebec issued a statement urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure federal policies such as carbon pricing are implemented in an equitable manner.
“One of the immediate actions we can take to address the affordability challenges that we discussed as prime minister is to ensure that all Canadians are treated fairly by the federal government when it comes to the federal carbon tax and home heating. ” the council said. Federation, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.
“All of these actions create inequity, create hardship, and do real harm to our most vulnerable populations as we head into the winter season,” said Alberta Premier Daniel Smith. Stated. “If this is truly a global problem, we need global thinking.”
At the same press conference, British Columbia Premier David Eby spoke of his enthusiasm for the heat pump program used in Atlantic Canada and his hope that it would be brought to British Columbia.
But Smith didn’t have the same enthusiasm for the program.
“In our state, they don’t work particularly well below minus 25 degrees. You can’t get insurance without heat pump backup,” Smith said. “We strongly believe that natural gas should be treated as a cleaner fuel.”
Prime Minister Trudeau announced last week that the government would suspend carbon pricing on home heating oil for three years to make it easier for home oil users to switch to electric heat pumps.
But the move quickly drew criticism from prime ministers and others in Western Canada, where few residents or businesses use household heating oil.
The House of Commons is Scheduled to vote on Monday Supports the Conservative Party’s motion to suspend the pricing of all household heating fuels.
The program is backed by the federal NDP and comes after tax breaks were announced for people who live in Atlantic Canada and use kerosene.
Laurie Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said the prime ministers had come to the realization that more could be achieved by working together.
“The states recognize that a united front on any issue increases pressure on the federal government,” she said.
Much of the talk leading up to the meeting was about Alberta’s proposal to leave the Canada Pension Plan, but ultimately it was not much discussed. If the prime minister gathers together, there is a possibility that this will play a role.
“[New Brunswick Premier] “Blaine Higgs has said he thinks this is a signal that Albertans are not being treated fairly,” Williams said. “He’s trying to promote concerns about inequity in exchange for Albertans staying in the Canada Pension Plan.”
Much of the discussion at the two-day conference in Halifax focused on the shortage of nurses and doctors across Canada and how to fill that gap.
“You’ll see that prime ministers, whether it’s the Philippines or other countries, are working very hard and collaboratively to recruit talent from abroad,” Smith said.
Smith said Alberta will recognize the qualifications of foreign nationals and allow health-care workers to become certified throughout the country and move seamlessly between jurisdictions.
Rural health was also discussed, with the prime ministers considering training health professionals in rural areas “so they stay in rural areas”.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, who chairs the meeting, and other premiers are calling on Trudeau to hold a face-to-face meeting with the premiers, something they say has not happened since December 2018.
With files from The Canadian Press