June 3, 2008 / 4:35 PM / 10 years ago

Small business group rejects carbon tax

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian small businesses sided firmly with the Conservative government on Tuesday in rejecting a carbon tax suggested by the opposition Liberals.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) asked for assurances from the federal government and provincial governments that they would not introduce new taxes on fuels, but rather cut taxes at a time when companies and consumers are battling high gasoline prices.

“Any discussion of implementing new fuel or carbon taxes will appear incredibly insensitive to entrepreneurs and the general public who are struggling to deal with the pressure of rising fuel prices,” Garth Whyte, CFIB’s executive vice-president, said in a statement.

Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion last month said he was considering a carbon tax on energy if elected, but he stressed that it would not be a cash-grabbing move as the government would return some of the money through income tax cuts. The Liberals said their carbon tax idea would not result in higher prices at the pump.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called the proposal “foolish and unnecessary.”

The CFIB called for a moratorium on any discussion or implementation of carbon taxes or fuel taxes. It also urged the elimination of a federal excise tax on gasoline and of sales taxes charged on fuel that has already been subjected to the excise tax.

Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway

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