CALGARY, May 23, 2019 — Premier Jason Kenney tabled legislation yesterday to scrap Alberta’s carbon tax as of May 30. The legislation removes the consumer levy, as well as the tax on facilities producing less than 100,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
Barry Robinson, lawyer for Ecojustice, made the following statement:
“This is not the end of carbon pricing in Alberta. If Canada is to meet its Paris commitments to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, every province must do their fair share, and Alberta is no exception. In fact, Alberta has a pivotal role to play in reducing emissions. Scrapping the carbon pricing plan introduced under the previous government is ill-advised, because it trades real long-term economic and environmental benefits for minimal short-term cost reductions.
“Parts of Alberta are currently in the grip of an early and aggressive wildfire season, fuelled by hot, dry weather. Canada’s climate is warming twice as fast as in the rest of the world, and we have only a short window to bend the carbon curve and ward off the worst effects of climate change. Premier Kenney is setting a reckless course for the province by scrapping Alberta’s current climate plan.
“In exchange for slightly cheaper gas prices in the short term, Albertans will lose control over how their carbon is priced and, perhaps more importantly, over the revenues raised by their home-grown climate plan. When the federal government imposes the federal carbon price, as it has in other provinces such as Saskatchewan and Ontario, Albertans won’t find themselves any further ahead. Premier Kenney is walking away from revenues of $1.3 billion, and will likely have to shut down popular programs funded by the carbon tax, such as the home energy efficiency programs and investments in public transit.”
Premier Kenney said on Wednesday that if the federal carbon price were to be imposed, he would follow Saskatchewan and Ontario in their constitutional challenges of carbon pricing. The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recently ruled that the federal carbon price is constitutional.
Ecojustice intervened in both provincial reference cases, and would seek leave to intervene in a future Alberta reference case.