Alberta unveils plan to fight federal government's imposition of a carbon tax
CALGARY -- The United Conservative Party government says the cost of everything from gas, groceries and clothing will go up Wednesday as the federal government's carbon tax comes into effect in Alberta.
Doug Schweitzer, Alberta's minister of justice and solicitor general, spoke Tuesday in Calgary to unveil the province's strategy to push back against the federal levy.
The UCP scrapped the province's carbon tax, imposed by the previous NDP government, back in June. The Kenney government said it was doing so to relieve taxes on Alberta and reduce the cost of living for residents.
“In 2019, Albertans overwhelmingly rejected carbon taxes at the ballot box — twice. We kept our commitment to scrap Alberta’s carbon tax," Schweitzer said.
"While some pundits and politicians at home would prefer that we simply roll over and accept Ottawa’s unconstitutional imposition of carbon taxes on Albertans, we are steadfast in our commitment to stand up for our province."
As a result of Alberta dropping the provincial carbon tax, the federal government said it would be bringing in its own levy to replace it starting Jan. 1.
Officials said it will begin at $20 per tonne and increase to $30 per tonne in April. By 2022, it's expected to reach $50 per tonne.
Schweitzer said the Alberta government is currently challenging the carbon tax through the Alberta Court of Appeal and the provincial government is supporting Saskatchewan and Ontario in their legal efforts to do the same.
“We're waiting to see what the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision will have in the New Year. And we're hoping to have that decision done before the Supreme Court case, which is going to be heard in March,” Schweitzer said.
“We're going to keep that fight going. This is federal overreach plain and simple. This is clearly provincial jurisdiction.”
Schweitzer said Alberta is also pursuing new ways to fight emissions through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) plan. He said as a result of TIER, emissions per barrel of oil in Alberta have fallen 30 per cent since 2000 and are on track to fall another 20 per cent by 2030.
"Albertans rightly recognize that the global challenge of climate change will not be addressed through taxes on getting to work and heating their homes, but instead through technological advancement," Schweitzer said.
The tax is expected to increase gas prices for all Albertans. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said in a tweet Sunday he expects gas prices to rise a minimum of seven cents per litre on Wednesday.
Diesel consumers could end up paying eight and a half cents more per litre.
However, Albertans will be eligible for carbon rebates.
A single adult will be entitled to $444 per year, while a family of four will see $888 given back to them, which is about $170 more than it is expected to pay.
Schweitzer said he doesn't believe that will be the case.
“I don't buy that at all. Look at Albertans right now. Alberta is struggling. We need jobs in this province,” he said.
“The cost of everything is going to start going up.”
With files from The Canadian Press