Premier advances N.B. position on federal gas tax return, child-care funding

Office of the Premier—May 30, 2005

SAINT JOHN (CNB)—Premier Bernard Lord promoted the province’s position on federal child-care funding and the gas tax return to New Brunswick during his speech to the Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce tonight.

Lord said the principle of fairness is at the centre of the province’s position on both issues. He stated the federal government’s gas tax revenue program is founded on a per capita basis. Since New Brunswickers in rural and urban areas pay federal gas tax, residents of both areas should receive their fair share of gas tax revenue.

“Our position is clear—all New Brunswickers, regardless of where they live, should get their fair share of gas tax revenue,” Lord said. “We believe that the 37 per cent of New Brunswickers who live in rural New Brunswick pay their fair share of gas tax and they should receive 37 per cent of the revenue. It is a matter of fairness.”

The premier said the principle of fairness should also determine how New Brunswick uses any funding that it receives from the federal government for child care.

New Brunswick is now negotiating a $100-million, five-year program for day-care and early learning programs.

The provincial government wants Ottawa to allow not only day care centres to access the funding but also families who provide child care at home.

“Any federal initiative must provide more flexibility and choice for parents,” Lord said. “I value the early learning environment that parents provide for their children and I respect their choice to stay at home to do so. That’s what I want and why we are insisting on an early learning child-care initiative that takes these care providers into account.”

Lord said the province’s initiative would give parents the option to stay at home with their children or to hire a care provider to come into their home.

“We will use our share of federal money for child care fairly to ensure that no child in New Brunswick is denied the opportunity to benefit from it,” the premier said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Chisholm Pothier, Office of the Premier, 506-444-2286.