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

UPDATE: Barb Desjardins clinches another win, will serve fourth term as Esquimalt mayor

Three new councillors will join three veterans at Esquimalt Township council

EDITORIAL: Voters across Greater Victoria embrace progressive ideas, new course in regional governance

Election results also reveal regional fissure between core and outer communities

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Voters in Saanich and Victoria support creation of citizens’ assembly on amalgamation

Group will continue to keep pressure on Victoria and Saanich councils after amalgamation referendum

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

UPDATE: Lisa Helps re-elected as mayor of Victoria

Nine people were seeking the mayor’s seat for the City of Victoria and 29 candidates hoped to be chosen for council

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Most Read