WHITEHORSE – This week, after the federal government confirmed that the possibility of an exemption to the carbon tax for Yukon is still on the table, the Official Opposition pressed the government to stand up for Yukon.
After months of claiming that there was no possibility of exemptions, the Premier found his version of the facts directly contradicted by the federal government. A senior federal official told local media that everything, including an exemption to the carbon tax, was on the table and that the “ball was in the Government of Yukon’s court.” These new developments directly contradict statements made by the Premier dating back to the election campaign when he told Yukoners there was no possibility for an exemption in the territory.
When asked if he would drop his ideological pursuit of a carbon tax and now consider standing up for Yukoners by negotiating an exemption, the Premier refused and responded by defending the carbon tax.
“It seems the Premier is more focused on the interests of Ottawa than standing up for what’s good for Yukon families and businesses,” stated Finance Critic Brad Cathers. “It’s time for the Premier to take responsibility for his decisions, listen to the concerns of Yukoners, and work to negotiate these exemptions.”
As Environment Canada has indicated that no final decision will be made until later this year, there is still time for the Premier to bring the voice of Yukoners to Ottawa.
“Yukoners tell us that when gas prices were higher, they didn’t drive to work less or heat their homes less; they just had less money in their bank accounts. Instead of making decisions based on ideology or what the Prime Minister wants, it’s time to start basing it on evidence and work to ensure life remains affordable for Yukoners.” added Cathers.
The Yukon Party has been clear in its position that the government can and should be seeking exemptions for families and businesses in the North, and will continue to hold the government to account.