NS Power president endorses NDP plan to scrap power tax

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA - The president of Nova Scotia Power jumped into the provincial election campaign by endorsing a key plank in the New Democratic Party's platform: removal of the provincial sales tax from electricity bills.

In a conference call with analysts, Nova Scotia Power president Rob Bennett was asked about the election campaign underway and its implications for the utility. In that call, Bennett endorsed the NDP plan to scrap the provincial sales tax.

"So, there's likely to be a position taken that the tax should be reversed, which I believe would be helpful for our business," Bennett said in the conference call.

NDP leader Darrell Dexter was pleased to hear Bennett's comments about his party's position to scrap the tax from customers' electricity bills.

"I'm happy that he thinks it's going to be good for his customers," NDP leader Darrell Dexter said.

While Progressive Conservative Party leader Rodney MacDonald refused to comment on the endorsement, Liberal leader Stephen McNeil was blunt when asked for a reaction.

"Nova Scotia Power crawled in bed with the New Democratic Party (with) the announcement of supporting that initiative," McNeil said.

Meanwhile, executives with Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, distanced themselves from Bennett's comments during the company's annual meeting in Halifax.

"The company has no position on taxation on electricity," Emera president Chris Huskilson said.

In an interview with reporters at the meeting, Bennett said that he did not "intend to take a position on anyone's political platform whatsoever."

Yet when asked on whether the NDP plan would be good for customers, Bennett said anything they can do "to keep costs under control for customers is always the right thing to do."


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