Nova Scotians among taxpayers losing billions of dollars and valuable services due to lack of pipelines

Author: Paige MacPherson 05/06/2019

HALIFAX, NS: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s cross-country tour stopped in Halifax today, showing how much money taxpayers are losing because Canadian oil is sold for less than its full value due to a lack of pipeline capacity. The tour features a large digital clock displaying losses going up in real time. The CTF’s analysis shows the federal government lost $6.2 billion between 2013 and 2018 and that number is going up by $3.6 million per day.

“Nova Scotians are losing out on valuable services like doctors and nursing homes and an opportunity for lower taxes, because Canadian oil can’t get to market,” said CTF Atlantic Director Paige MacPherson.

Canada isn’t getting full value for oil due to a lack of pipeline capacity to reach foreign customers. Based on data released by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the CTF calculated how much additional revenue the federal government would receive if Canadian oil sales received full value compared to the American price.

The lack of pipelines cost the federal government:

  • $6.2 billion between 2013 and 2018; and,
  • Another $3.6 million per day (based on projected loses of $6.6 billion between 2019 and 2023).

Here are a few examples of the potential benefits for taxpayers if increased pipeline capacity captured full value for Canadian oil from 2013 to 2023:

  • Six new major hospitals could be built based on the cost of the QEII hospital redevelopment;
  • Nearly 25,000 new teaching positions in Nova Scotia could be fully funded for 10 years;
  • Pay off over 80 per cent of the government of Nova Scotia’s projected debt;
  • All residents of Nova Scotia could be exempt from federal taxes for nearly two years.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has recently jumped into the Energy East debate, suggesting the pipeline should expand into his province.

“The safest way to move this product is through a pipeline,” said McNeil. “I get the fact there needs to be consultation, there are challenges associated with communities, but how do we work to move that forward on the benefit of the nation?”

Revenues from Ottawa are projected to make up 34 per cent of Nova Scotia’s total 2019-20 budget.

“Taxpayers are losing out on billions of dollars because we can’t get pipelines built and we aren’t receiving full value for our oil,” said CTF Alberta Director Franco Terrazzano. “From East to West, Canadians are made better off when governments allow job creators to build pipelines.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s tour is visiting every province to show how much money taxpayers are losing because governments haven’t encouraged pipeline construction. You can find the analysis here.

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