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

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

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

sdaf
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

Festivals Kelowna president Richard Groves and executive director Renata Mills wrap themselves in the flag during the announcement of preparations for the 2018 Canada Day festival. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)
Festivals Kelowna cancels Canada Day celebrations for second year in a row

The group cited logistic issues in their announcement

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
UPDATE: Kelowna man cuffed after carjacking in Vernon

Crime spree: Man robs couple at Coldstream lookout at gunpoint, sets a vehicle ablaze

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read