Alberta premier Jason Kenney says provincial carbon tax will die May 30
By Dean Bennett
Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta’s carbon tax has about two weeks to live.
Kenney says the Carbon Tax Repeal Act is to be introduced during next week’s legislature sitting and will have a proviso to end the tax by the end of the month.
“By May 30th there will no longer be an Alberta carbon tax,” Kenney said Monday at a news conference outlining some of the legislation coming from his new United Conservative government.
An end to the tax brought in by the former NDP government will put an estimated $1.4 billion a year back in the pockets of taxpayers, he said.
The levy is charged on home heating using fossil fuels and on gasoline at the pumps.
Ending the tax would open the door to the federal government imposing its tax, as it has done with four other provinces that wouldn’t bring in their own carbon pricing: Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Edmonton last Friday, wouldn’t say if his government would immediately charge the federal tax if Alberta ditched its own, but stressed that no province will be exempt.
Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the repeal “sets the stage for a made-in-Ottawa, a made-by-Justin-Trudeau carbon plan to be imposed on Albertans.
“I don’t think it’s wise,” the NDP leader said. “And we will certainly make the case vigorously that it’s not wise.”
Getting rid of the carbon tax was a central policy pillar in Kenney’s successful campaign last month to win the election. He defeated Notley’s party, achieving a strong majority.
Kenney ridiculed the NDP carbon fee as a thinly veiled tax grab that penalizes consumers while having no effect on greenhouse gas emissions. He also held the levy up as a symbol of what he has said was an interventionist NDP government that was stifling economic recovery by imposing additional fees and red tape.
On the campaign trail, Kenney promised to file an immediate court challenge on the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax if he won the election.
He promised to file the court papers by April 30; however, his cabinet was not sworn in until that day. In the two weeks since, no challenge has been filed.
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