CCentral-Main-logo-EN-trans

Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content

Trudeau says Alberta carbon tax fight won’t affect Trans Mountain line decision

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Alberta’s opposition to a carbon tax won’t influence his cabinet’s decision on whether to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“Moves that a province may or may not make will have no bearing on the approval process for important projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion,” Trudeau told reporters Friday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has promised to bring in legislation to kill Alberta’s provincial carbon tax as the first order of his new United Conservative government.

Kenney has also promised to fight in court any move by Trudeau’s government to replace the provincial levy with the federal one.

When asked if Alberta will get the federal tax, Trudeau said, “There are many discussions still to have on this.

“What we are going to ensure is that nowhere across the country will it be free to pollute.

“We’d much rather work with the provinces on that. But if some provinces don’t want to act to fight climate change, the federal government will, because it’s too important for Canadians.”

Kenney’s spokesperson, Christine Myatt, responded in a statement: “We look forward to approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project and fully expect the federal government to do everything in its power to see that this pipeline gets built.”

The federal tax has been put in place in Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba _ provinces that have not implemented their own carbon levy.

A week ago, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled in a split decision that the tax imposed on provinces without a carbon price of their own is constitutional.

The court said establishing minimum national standards for a price on greenhouse gas emissions does fall under federal jurisdiction.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has promised to appeal the decision up to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Ontario is also challenging the federal tax and is waiting for a decision after arguing its case in court last month.

Kenney’s office reiterated its promise to launch a similar challenge.

“We look forward to introducing legislation that will repeal the (Alberta) NDP’s job-killing carbon tax and are prepared to fight any federally-imposed carbon tax all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada,” said Myatt.

Kenney campaigned, and won, Alberta’s election last month on a platform that included repealing the provincial carbon tax.

The bill is expected to be introduced shortly after the Alberta legislature begins sitting May 21.

Kenney has promised to replace it with a program of levies on GHG emissions by large industrial producers. The money raised will then be used for carbon pollution technology and research that Kenney says can be shared globally and will have a broader impact on arresting climate change.

He says the current carbon tax on home heating and gasoline at the pumps hurts working families, while having no effect on global GHG emissions.

Alberta’s program offers rebates for low and middle-income families, and Trudeau noted the federal one does too.

“We’ve made sure that the average family is actually better off with the climate action incentive we return to them at tax time than they would be paying as an extra price on pollution,” said Trudeau.

“Fighting climate change while making it affordable for Canadians is at the heart of how we’re going to move forward.”

Trudeau’s cabinet is expected to make a decision as early as next month on whether to approve Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple the capacity of oil shipped from Alberta to the west coast.


Industry reacts to proposed fines for Ontario gas stations not posting anti-carbon-tax stickers

Buried in Ontario’s budget bill are fines of up to $10,000 per day for gas station operators who don’t display government-mandated stickers about the price of the carbon tax.

gas-stickerThe budget contains a new piece of legislation called the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act that would require gas stations to display the sticker on each pump. The sticker shows the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022.

The legislation lets the government send inspectors to see if gas stations are properly displaying the stickers and sets out penalties for non-compliance.

Individuals could be fined up to $500 each day, or up to $1,000 a day for subsequent offences. Corporations could be fined up to $5,000 a day, or up to $10,000 a day for subsequent offences.

Obstructing an inspector would carry a fine of at least $500 and up to $10,000.

“This is a new low, even for (Premier) Doug Ford,” NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns said in a statement. “It’s bad enough that he’s wasting public money on partisan promotion, but now he’s threatening private business owners with massive fines for failing to post [Progressive] Conservative Party advertisement.”

Similar critiques came from federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who denounced the fines as “ridiculous.”

“Not only is this a violation of freedom of speech, it will cost small business owners across the province who don’t want to take part in this government propaganda campaign,” McKenna said in a statement.

“This should be denounced by all political parties as a new low for our political discourse.”

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said Ford is wasting tax dollars and abusing legal tools to bolster his anti-carbon tax campaign.

“This has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with helping his federal cousins win the election,” Schreiner said in a statement.

‘We cannot accept this carbon tax’

The provincial Tories are slamming the federal carbon tax at every turn, and while Ford has said he is staying out of the upcoming federal election, he directly linked the two Friday in a speech to the Ontario General Contractors Association.

“When you go to the ballot box think of your future,” he said. “Think of the country’s future. Think of your children’s future, because we cannot accept this carbon tax.”

In response, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association said on Twitter: “Independent family run gas stations are more then happy to install the carbon tax sticker on all our pumps supporting Ford Nation in educating customers of the carbon tax download on all Ontarians. Let us know how to help?”

Energy Minister Greg Rickford’s director of communications said the stickers are about transparency.

But critics note that the stickers don’t mention carbon tax rebates.

The carbon tax is expected cost to a typical household $258 this year and $648 by 2022.
With files from Michelle Warren.