Fri, May 24, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Canada’s oil-rich Alberta introduces bill to repeal provincial carbon tax

Reuters, CALGARY, Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, left, speaks while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 2.

Photo: Bloomberg

Canada’s main crude-producing province, Alberta, on Wednesday introduced a bill to repeal the provincial carbon tax, setting up a legal tussle between Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government in Ottawa.

Kenney and his party last month swept to power in Alberta on a platform that promised to champion the province’s beleaguered energy industry and stand up to the federal government.

Scrapping Alberta’s carbon tax, introduced by the previous government, was a major part of Kenney’s campaign.

It would be the first piece of legislation tabled by the new government, but puts the province on a collision course with Trudeau’s Liberals ahead of a national election in the fall.

The move would automatically trigger a federal carbon tax aimed at provinces that do not have their own plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“The carbon tax has been all economic pain and no environmental gain,” Kenney told reporters at a news conference. “If Justin Trudeau’s government then seeks to impose a federal carbon tax in Alberta, we will see him in court.”

Alberta would join Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan when it challenges the federal carbon tax in court.

Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal earlier this month ruled that the tax does not violate the Canadian constitution, marking a victory for Trudeau on one of his trademark policies.

Kenney said his government has a stronger case than Saskatchewan, because Alberta would still impose a levy on large industrial carbon emitters.

The Carbon Tax Repeal Act would provide C$1.4 billion (US$1.04 billion) in tax relief to Albertans and create 6,000 jobs, the government said in the first legislative session in the provincial capital, Edmonton.

“Now more than ever Canadians expect their leaders to work together to reduce pollution, not play politics,” said Vanessa Adams, spokeswoman for the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, in an e-mailed statement. “If Premier Kenney dismantles Alberta’s climate plan, the federal backstop will apply.”

Kenney’s government also plans to submit legislation to lower Alberta’s corporate tax rate from 12 to 8 percent, cut back on regulation, and guarantee oil and gas royalty rates, moves aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the energy industry.

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