The GNWT Polar Bear Should Share The Cost Of Living Pain And Return The NWT Fuel Tax To Northerners.
In the short term, people are looking for relief, especially with the federal carbon tax putting another log on the raging inflation fire scorching Northern families.
The most obvious target is the GNWT’s own gas tax of about 10 cents a litre. We can remove that once the Consensus Coalition gets in office. A band-aid solution is better than bleeding all over the floor until other remedies are in place.
$20 Million Worth Of Relief For Northerners
The GNWT is projected to bring in $20 million a year with that tax, a small amount in a $2.5 billion budget that will make a big difference in the pockets of the people.
We can’t forget or ignore why the carbon tax is in place though, climate change policies are here to stay. The sooner we get off expensive diesel and gas the better.
To that end, we will pump the carbon tax revenues of $36.8 million into the Arctic Energy Alliance for energy efficient subsidies. The Ordinary MLAs want to do more on climate change but they can’t bear to further sacrifice the straining bank accounts of ordinary people to do it.
But cabinet is handcuffed by its status quo budget handed down by Commissioner Stu Hodgson almost 60 years ago.. And they have this crazy relationship with the Northern Power Corporation which puts its own survival ahead of the planet’s by resisting renewable energy and keeping the diesel dollars flowing to pay for all its dinosaur diesel engines in the communities.
NPC restricts the amount of solar power that comes into the grid. Subsidies offered for solar power in the communities aren’t available to homes in Yellowknife where half the territory lives. Maybe making the subsidy NWT-wide would set the stage for a new business or businesses in the capital and regions, creating capacity for dealing with climate change and jobs too.
NPC is without question a valuable tool for supplying power to the people but you cannot let a tool run the build for the rest of the GNWT which is what’s been happening.
People Will Ask: Where’s This $20 Million Going To Come From?
If you examine the capital budgets, you will see huge variations in both the tens of if not hundreds of million of dollars committed and some years the tens of millions of dollars unspent. The other question is how wisely has it all been spent? Cost overruns seem to be a part of doing business for the GNWT which must change.
Forty million dollars will not stand in the way of GNWT operations, it’s just a matter of priorities. Shifting our spending from very speculative projects where the return is to come far in the future to spending on immediate projects that will pay off sooner and affect the quality of life for Northerners is needed now.
Our main priority must be to help the people and guess what. The civil servants making this happen will enjoy the same benefits as their neighbors. How is that for job motivation?
My fellow candidates can feel free to take up this fight against the atrocious cost of living in the North. Just call it a Consensus issue so we can all get behind it and make it happen.