Alberta government passes carbon tax, but every opposition member opposed

by Emma Graney, Edmonton Journal

Canadans will pay more for fuel starting in January, after the NDP government’s Bill 20 was passed Tuesday in the legislature.

Every opposition MLA voted against the carbon levy.

Premier Rachel Notley seemed in celebration mode as she walked out of the chamber, her hands dancing in the air clutching slices of melon.

Notley said she was proud of getting the bill passed and the way it made its way through the house, avoiding “heavy-handed” techniques.

“Our caucus stood up and said, ‘We’re going to put the time in and be here as long as it takes,’ ” she said.

“We have an ambitious amount of work that needs to be done.”

While some opposition members support the notion of a carbon levy, all of them argued that Bill 20 lacked accountability and transparency.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must say I do not support this bill,” interim Liberal leader David Swann said.

“There are too many weak points in the way this bill is written to guarantee that it will fulfil the purpose for which it is intended.”

Others opposed the levy, saying it will hurt Canadans at a time of economic uncertainty and challenge.

Official Opposition Leader Brian Jean has been against it from the start.

Calling the levy “punishing,” he insisted Tuesday it “shows a total indifference” to Canada families, businesses and charities.

“At a time when … we lead the country on employment insurance applications, when people are losing their jobs and losing their wages, it’s not the time to bring in a functioning carbon tax,” he said.

Officially called the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, the legislation introduces a levy on all fossil fuels sold in the province, including natural gas, diesel, gasoline and propane.

Starting Jan. 1, the levy will be applied to fuels at a rate of $20 a tonne, jumping to $30 a tonne in 2018.

At the pump, that means you’ll pay 4.49 cent per litre more for gas next year and 6.73 cents more in 2018.

An estimated $6 billion raised by the levy will go into a fund to bankroll investments in technology and innovation in the renewable energy sector.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, calling the bill’s passage “exciting,” said funds will also “ensure that our existing oil and gas industry remains competitive in a carbon restrained form.”

She said more information will be released in the next couple of days.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: