Alberta moves forward with constitutional reference on federal carbon tax

Aug 6 2019, 3:41 pm

The Government of Alberta is pushing forward with the reference it filed to the Alberta Court of Appeal against the federal government’s plans to impose a carbon tax on the province.

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, said in a release that the Government of Alberta will continue to “defend Alberta’s constitutional right to make policy best suited to [the province’s] needs,” filing a factum at the court on August 2.

In the release, Schweitzer also noted the reference being filed includes the government’s “comprehensive plan to regulate industrial emitters, as well as the fact that Alberta has been a proud leader for over a decade in the regulation of greenhouse gases, which was always seen to be clearly listed as a provincial responsibility under the constitution.”

Alberta is currently the province with the highest emissions, having generated 58% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

See also:

After Jason Kenney eliminated the province carbon tax, the federal government announced that it will impose a carbon tax on the province, starting on January 1, 2020. After the announcement was made, the provincial government filed a reference in response in July.

The federal carbon tax means Albertan companies will be paying $20 per tonne, with the price increasing by $10 every year, reaching $50 per tonne by 2022.

Schweitzer criticized the federal carbon tax as being a “one-size-fits-all” imposition, saying that there was no environmental benefit to doing so, only “economic pain.”

“Our constitution is not based on ‘Ottawa knows best.’ It is based on the principle that the provinces are best situated to make policy decisions for their own citizens,” Schweitzer said in the release.

According to Schweitzer, the Government of Alberta “will use every legal tool at our disposal to fight the federal carbon tax and stand up for the rights of Albertans. We will never be apologetic when defending our province’s interests. We will never relent in promoting jobs. And we will never be passive when championing our economy.”