Former engineer critical of carbon pricing plan

PORT HAWKESBURY: A local man says he is unhappy with aspects of the province’s announced carbon pricing plan.

Retired engineer Archie Stewart said the province’s carbon pricing plan will affect all Nova Scotians.

“They’re saying it’s going to be revenue neutral,” said Stewart. “Nothing I’ve read concerning Nova Scotia’s negotiations with Ottawa come close to that. The average family in Nova Scotia, when this takes affect two or three years down the road, is going to be paying… anywhere between $500 and $800 a year in additional cots that they’re not paying today.”

Stewart is calling the plan the “largest tax increase in Nova Scotia history.”

He said the figures come from studies he read out of Dalhousie University, noting the province’s Progressive Conservative Party also completed a study on the plan.

“I’ve taken a whole bunch of different numbers and punched them into my own formula and come up with these numbers,” he said.

Stewart said the province needs to do something in regards to climate change.

“We may as well start with a cap in trade or a carbon tax of some sort or another,” he said. “My only issue with either is the length of time they’ve given us to come up with this. The length of time is extremely short in terms of financing.”

Stewart was quoted in a release from the Nova Scotia PC Party. Leader Jamie Baillie also issued concerns with the carbon pricing plan, noting it will raise the costs of gasoline, home heating fuel, and electricity costs.

This is not the first time Stewart took issue with power prices in the province. In 2012, Stewart used the GoPetition Web site to launch the “Reform Nova Scotia Power” campaign, with 13 proposals including a three-year moratorium on NSPI rate increases, changes to provincial laws allowing NSPI a guaranteed rate of return and a monopoly position on electricity delivery, investigation of the possibility of buying back or expropriating the province’s electrical grid, and the establishment of a Committee of Electrical Ratepayers to make recommendations on future power rates.

The campaign came after Stewart attracted 31,966 signatures to an on-line petition against power rate increases.