A B.N. NDP government would try to keep the provincial price of natural gas from rising beyond its current $4.20-a-barrel price for the next three years, and make it easier for consumers to save and invest, Finance Minister Joe Ceci said Monday.
He said the Liberals’ proposal to hike electricity rates by 5 per cent over three years was “a bit of a distraction from the reality of the situation we’re in.”
“The reality is that we need to have a realistic and balanced approach to pricing,” Ceci told reporters in Ottawa.
“I think that’s what’s going to get people through this crisis.
It’s not a crisis that needs to be handled by the Liberals.
It needs to get solved by the NDP.”
Ceci, who is seeking re-election this spring, made the comments as he spoke at a news conference with the leader of the New Democrats in the legislature.
The New Democrats have been pushing to raise the gas price in order to reduce the impact of the wildfires in northern B.P. “It’s a good idea, it’s a sensible idea, but it’s not enough,” said New Democrat MLA Kevin Doherty.
The NDP has also proposed that the provincial government provide a refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 to anyone who buys gas from an alternative supplier and is eligible to receive it.
“In a few years, when you see the cost of gas going up, you’re going to have to adjust to the fact that you have a new government that’s trying to hold onto power and that you don’t want to see it evaporate,” Doherty said.
The province is also proposing to increase the maximum amount of electricity customers can save each year by 10 per cent by 2017.
The government has also promised to raise provincial income tax rates for workers to 8 per cent in 2019.
“We know the province’s struggling.
We know that’s why we’re making these changes,” Cecich said.
“The fact that we’re doing this now means we’re actually making sure that we have an economy that’s healthy for the future and a stable economy that we can continue to support for the people of B.A.C.”
In his comments, Ceci also said that the NDP has been working with the provinces and territories on ways to help mitigate the effects of the fires.
“There’s no question that the wildfires have a huge impact on the province.
The question is how do we make sure that it’s dealt with appropriately?”
Ceci’s comments come after the B.S. Conservatives announced last week that they are pulling support from the NDP because of its position on the wildfires.
“For many years, we have been the party of responsible climate action,” said a statement from the BPC.
“Our position on climate change has been consistent: we support action to reduce emissions and help limit warming.
The BPC is disappointed in the Liberal government’s decision and would have supported the NDP’s position.”
The B.E.N.’s Christy Clark also told reporters Monday that the party is reviewing its position.
“They’re going back and talking to the BN to see if they can be helpful in helping us,” she said.
Clark, who was elected in November to replace former premier Christy Clark, said the BnS should consider the BCP and the BPP.
“When the BNP first came to power, the BNA and the NDP, we said we are not for the new NDP.
And we have continued to say that ever since.
And that is what’s being discussed with the Bnp and the party, and we are hopeful that they’ll be helpful,” Clark said.