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

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

UPDATE: Whiskey Creek floodwaters subside

Area roads reopened following Sunday morning closure

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moves to new job with RDN

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read