Premier Jason Kenney arrives to a meeting with Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and senators in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday, May 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

Alberta set to pass law to kill provincial carbon tax, as federal tax looms

Kenney has said if Ottawa impose its fee, he will join Saskatchewan and Ontario in fighting it in court

Alberta’s consumer carbon tax is dead, setting the stage for a showdown with Ottawa over the imposition of a new one.

The province cancelled its tax on gasoline at the pumps and on home heating fuels just after midnight Thursday morning.

Later in the day, the legislature was to pass third and final reading of An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax to make the change official.

The bill was a signature campaign promise of Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives, who won a majority government last month.

Kenney told the house Thursday that the bill delivers a merciful end to a tax that didn’t stop the global rise of greenhouse gas emissions but did hurt working families.

“We have barely been in office for a month and we are already, today, delivering to Albertans the biggest tax break in our province’s history,” Kenney told the house as his UCP caucus members applauded.

In Ottawa, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna decried Alberta’s decision to end the provincial carbon tax, which she dubbed the “make pollution free again bill.”

She said Canada will move quickly to impose the federal version on Alberta.

“We’re looking to do it as soon as possible,” said McKenna.

Alberta now joins New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — provinces that have declined to impose their own carbon levys, leaving Ottawa to impose one for them.

Kenney has said if Ottawa impose its fee, he will join Saskatchewan and Ontario in fighting it in court.

Alberta is expected to argue that Ottawa does not have the constitutional authority to levy the tax and that, in any event, Alberta is already paying one with its current tax of greenhouse gases on large emitters.

Alberta’s fee, launched on Jan. 1, 2017 by the previous NDP government, taxed carbon at $30 tonne. Drivers were paying almost seven cents a litre more this year with the provincial carbon tax, along with $1.51 a gigajoule on natural gas for heating. Energy Efficiency Alberta says the typical Alberta household uses 120 gigajoules a year.

The federal tax is $20 a tonne but is set to rise annually until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022.

The Alberta tax brought in an estimated $2 billion, much of that rebated to low and middle-income families. It also funded a range of green projects from rapid transit to energy saving light bulbs.

Families will also get rebates from the federal tax.

McKenna said her department has already done preliminary math, given that Kenney’s bill was expected pass, and estimates a family of four in Alberta will get $700 in rebates when they file their 2019 taxes a year from now.

That’s higher than the $377 expected in New Brunswick, $451 in Ontario and $449 in Manitoba. A family in Saskatchewan would get $903.

The rebates are based on the expected amount people will pay. Provinces where coal and natural gas are used more heavily for heating and electricity are likely to shoulder higher carbon tax bills.

McKenna said Kenney is taking a page from the same playbook as Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“They don’t have a plan to tackle climate change and they don’t have a plan to grow the economy,” said McKenna.

In the legislature, Kenney criticized and mocked former premier Rachel Notley for bringing in the provincial carbon tax, especially after not running on it in the 2015 election campaign.

He said the tax didn’t deal with climate change and didn’t deliver any “social licence” to garner further national or international support or acceptance of Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

“So what is the point?” Kenney said rhetorically.

“The best answer I can come up with is this: it makes them feel better about themselves. It makes them feel virtuous. And it makes the NDP feel like somehow they are saving the planet.”

READ MORE: B.C. carbon tax up April 1, other provinces begin to catch up

READ MORE: Saskatchewan top court rules 3-2 federal carbon tax is constitutional

ALSO READ: Alberta introduces bill to change overtime pay, reduce youth minimum wage

— With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RedRover talks animal care

Nicole Forsyth, Executive Director of RedRover, spoke in the Burns Lake Public… Continue reading

Alternative arts fest at LDSS

Lakes District Secondary School held its Alternative Arts Festival on May 28.… Continue reading

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

RDBN opts to join entrepreneur immigration pilot scheme

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) will back a candidate under the… Continue reading

Ultrasound for Burns Lake hospital possible, Northern Health says

Northern Health is considering the possibility of bringing ultrasound services to the… Continue reading

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read