Politics

I would 'absolutely' put a price on carbon, says newly minted N.B. Liberal leader Kevin Vickers

New Brunswick's newly minted Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said he will put a price on carbon in his home province if he becomes the next premier.

'I believe that climate change is one of the greatest dangers and threats to our humanity'

Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, became the leader of the Liberal Party in New Brunswick on April 24. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

New Brunswick's newly minted Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said he will put a price on carbon in his home province if he becomes the next premier.

"Absolutely. I believe that climate change is one of the greatest dangers and threats to our humanity," Vickers told CBC News Network's Power & Politics when asked if his carbon plan would meet federal standards set out by the Liberal government. "It's absolutely paramount that everybody realizes that we have a role to play."

"I believe a price on carbon is a way to ... make way for a shift in societal behavior with carbon consumption and carbon emissions," he added.

The federal government began levying a tax of $20 per tonne of GHG emissions starting April 1 on provinces that refused to enact their own carbon pricing plans including: New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Vickers did not provide details on what his carbon tax plan would look like, but he said his carbon tax policy would mirror that of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia — provinces that came up with alternative provincial plans or special offset deals with Ottawa. 

Vickers, who became Liberal leader April 24, said that in the last six years, the province of New Brunswick spent $100 million dollars on storms that he ties to climate change.

According to storm data from the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board, NB Power paid out nearly $100 million to repair damage from 64 storms over the last six years — five times more than the province paid to repair damage in the six years prior to that, even though that period saw more storm activity.

"I'm confident that New Brunswickers will do their part in ... carrying out their responsibilities to whatever they can do to reduce carbon emissions," Vickers said. 

New Brunswick Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers says he would 'absolutely' put a price on carbon in his home province that meets the conditions outlined by the federal government, but it has to be fair. 6:11

With files from Robert Jones