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article imageFederal carbon tax coming to Alberta starting January 1

By Karen Graham     Jun 14, 2019 in Politics
Ottawa plans to impose the federal carbon tax on Alberta starting Jan. 1 and federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she has written the province about the decision.
The Alberta carbon tax was imposed in 2015 by former NDP Premier Rachel Notley but did not go into effect until January 1, 2017. However, when Premier Jason Kenney and his newly elected United Conservative government took over the reins of the provincial government this year, his very first act was to repeal the carbon tax.
And on Monday night, June 3, Alberta's legislature voted to pass the bill that repealed Notley's consumer carbon tax, and it was signed into law by Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell.
“We need to move forward to tackle climate change,” McKenna said in Ottawa on Thursday. “We see the impacts of climate change through extreme weather, including in Alberta where there are forest fires that are burning earlier than ever before, that are burning stronger, and that (are) having serious impacts on the lives of Albertans as well as on their economy.”
Responding to the repeal of Alberta's carbon tax by the new United Conservative government, McKenney said, "As a result of Alberta's decision to make it free to pollute in Alberta, we will have the federal price on pollution," she said. "It's unfortunate because Alberta had a made-in-Alberta plan to put a price on pollution," reports CBC Canada.
Under Ottawa's pan-Canadian framework on climate change, a deal agreed to by most of the provinces and the federal government in December 2016, the provinces and territories were to develop policies to put a price on carbon through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.
However, as part of the plan, Ottawa would impose a carbon tax on provinces that refused to develop their own plans — at a rate of $20 on every ton of greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2019, rising by $10 each year to $50 a ton by 2022.
McKenna explained again on Thursday that 100 percent of the taxes collected would go back to Alberta taxpayers in rebates on their income taxes, 90 percent going to taxpayers as a rebate and 10 percent going toward making buildings more energy efficient. In other words, a family of four could expect to receive $888.
"It's unfortunate that we're in this situation with another conservative premier ... who doesn't seem to understand that pricing pollution is proven, that provinces that have had a price on pollution have been the fastest-growing in the country and pricing pollution is the most efficient way to reduce emissions," McKenna said.
Alberta's response?
All Alberta's Environment Minister Jason Nixon could come up with was to remark that at least for a few months, Albertan's would be enjoying some of the lowest gas prices around.
"Thankfully, Premier Kenney followed through on his promise of killing the carbon tax," he said. "We've removed that tax from our system and at least for the next several months, until January first, we won't have the burden of the carbon tax on our economy."
Nixon is also hoping the Liberals lose the federal election in October. "There will be a federal election in-between and many things can happen between now and January 1," he said.
More about Alberta, Carbon tax, environmental minister, Premier Jason Kenney, Climate crisis
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