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'Different set of rules than apply to the rest of us': Smith wants federal carbon tax plan answers 

The federal carbon tax will increase $15 per tonne to $65 starting April 1, 2023. 

It's expected to add about 14.3 cents per litre for Albertans at the pumps, while in Quebec the expected increase is only nine cents per litre. 

Ottawa previously announced the tax will increase $15 every year until 2030, when it tops out at $170. 

"When the carbon tax is fully implemented Albertans are going to be paying 37 cents a litre in federal carbon tax and Quebec is only going to be paying 23 cents a litre," said Premier Danielle Smith on Tuesday. 

"It's absurd to me that SUV drivers in Quebec are going to have cheaper gasoline and diesel prices than Alberta where we produce the product and refine it."

Smith says her new 'Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act' will dive deep into why she feels Alberta is being ripped off by the Trudeau government. 

"I don't think it's legitimate for them to have one set of rules that applies to Quebec, and a different set of rules that applies to the rest of us," she said. 

Smith tweeted reference to a recent Canadian Taxpayers Federation report, showing Albertans will pay 55 per cent more than Quebec residents at the pumps next year, given the carbon tax increase. 

Andrew Leach, a University of Alberta professor of economics, lauds Smith for questioning the disparity.

"The premier is right to highlight this and I think it does present more of a problem for the Prime Minister if it continues," said Leach.

"This isn't just an Alberta versus Quebec issue. This is Ontario versus Quebec, this is B.C. versus Quebec."

Quebec, in contrast to Alberta, has a cap and trade system where the price of emissions in the province fluctuates. 

Last week, Alberta was 40 per cent higher when it came to carbon tax compared to Quebec. 

Leach adds that if pricing in Quebec stays low, Ottawa will have to make changes. 

"From this coming year onwards that benchmarking process has changed," said Leach. "So if Quebec's price remains low, then it will fall to the federal government to step in to call on Quebec in some way."

According to GasBuddy, the average price per litre of regular unleaded fuel in Montreal as of Wednesday was 159.9 cents.

In the Calgary area, the cheapest price of gas was 113.9 cents per litre at the Costco on the Tsuut'ina Nation. Within Calgary, the average price was between 121.9 and 123.9 cents per litre. 

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley says it's unclear how Smith plans to fight Ottawa on the carbon tax with her new bill. 

"We've got a UCP government that's simply been shaking its fist at clouds," said Notley. "There are, without question, genuine issues that need attention between our province and the federal government to ensure that Alberta is treated fairly." 

Leach says the premier does have an advantage over the prime minister but must be careful when wading into a political fight on the carbon tax. 

"I think there's a lot of advantage to Alberta being in the situation where you can look to Quebec and say, you know, Alberta takes a lot of heat for its emissions for its oilsands industry, et cetera, but tell me again, 'Who's taking climate change more seriously?'," said Leach. 

"Because if Alberta reduces their emissions or oilsands operation reduces their emissions, they're (Ottawa) getting a benefit that far exceeds if they put those same dollars and achieve the same outcome into an investment in Quebec."

Climate rebate cheques handed out quarterly by the federal government for Alberta in 2023, will increase to $386 for a family of four. Top Stories

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