Premier John Horgan speaks to reporters outside the B.C. legislature, Oct. 4, 2017 (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

John Horgan blasts Ottawa’s marijuana tax grab

B.C. premier confident lumber talks not forgotten

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he expected his first ministers’ meeting in Ottawa to deal with moving marijuana sales away from an “untested, unregulated and unsafe product” to a safe model, not to argue about Ottawa’s surprise proposal to impose a national excise tax on it.

“We were surprised to learn that the federal government also believes, not only do we need to control and regulate the distribution of marijuana, but they see it as an opportunity to raise revenue, and that was a shock to everyone around the table,” Horgan said Wednesday.

Recreational marijuana sales are to be legalized July 1, 2018, and federal officials chose the conference in Ottawa this week to reveal a proposed 10 per cent excise tax on marijuana sales. The revenue would be split 50-50 with the provinces where it is sold.

“We made it abundantly clear that the costs to provinces and local governments seem to be rising, and we didn’t see a role for the federal government in terms of taking revenues away from providing services to people,” Horgan said.

In language unusually strong for federal-provincial relations, Horgan said the task is “to make sure that kids don’t get access to marijuana, to make sure that the distribution system is safe and fair, and that the regulation of the product, which will be done largely at the provincial level, largely at provincial cost, should not be an opportunity for the federal government to collect revenue.”

The meeting also dealt with trade talks, both on renewing the North American Free Trade Agreement and the softwood lumber discussions that are particularly vital to B.C.’s trade with the U.S.

Horgan said he is satisfied that B.C. trade representative David Emerson and federal negotiators are proceeding with both, despite attention being diverted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s provocative statements on trade with Mexico dominating headlines.

Just Posted

Nearly 25,000 people cast ballots in Chilliwack

Turnout 10,000 votes higher than in 2014

Ken Popove pledges to work hard as the new mayor of Chilliwack

Popove to take the reins from Sharon Gaetz

Chilliwack school board results reveal clear split

Incumbents Dan Coulter, Heather Maahs and Barry Neufeld join four new board members

Popove elected mayor in Chilliwack

Gaetz second, Waddington third; new faces on city council

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

N.B. village faces backlash after council raises ‘straight flag’

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson says the flag met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Most Read