Alberta’s carbon tax has officially ended today. As of May 30, the tax brought in by the previous NDP government is nixed by the new UCP government with the passing of Bill 1. A key election promise, Premier Jason Kenney swore to remove the provincial carbon tax with his government’s first piece of legislation.
The bill also cancels the rebate offered to households in order to ease the impact on them, however, those who received a rebate won’t have to repay it. The new MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright Garth Rowswell, calls the tax an “economic pain with no environmental gain” and supports the repeal. Rowswell also says many constituents and businesses told him how much they were affected by the carbon tax.
“I had seniors come and talk to me about the carbon taxes that were on their utility bills. They actually brought their actual bills to me and told me, we can’t be paying this stuff. I think that’s going to be a relief to everybody who was complaining about that,” says Rowswell.
In the absence of a provincial carbon tax, Alberta’s climate plan will focus on working with heavy emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rowswell says heavy emitters create about 60 per cent of our emissions, and a plan to work with them on an emissions cap will be coming later.
Repealing the carbon tax also leaves the province open to the federal government’s carbon tax. Rowswell says the Alberta Government will continue to challenge the federal carbon tax and fight the constitutional nature of it.
“We’ll be taking them to court and we’ll be supporting Saskatchewan’s court appeal. We’re going to go help them on that, and then work to get Andrew Scheer elected in the coming fall, because he said he’ll be eliminating the federal carbon tax as well.”
Rowswell says there will be a transition process over the next couple of months to sort out charges accrued by the provincial carbon tax. Premier Jason Kenney was scheduled to address the media on Thursday afternoon but cancelled the event to receive updates on Alberta’s current wildfires.