Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Carbon tax legislation, which the opposition estimates will increase household bills by $1000 / year, has just been passed by the Alberta Legislature.
Alberta carbon tax legislation passes, marks first stage of climate-change plan
The new legislation will raise the price of heating bills and gasoline as an incentive to turn to green energy sources.
EDMONTON—Premier Rachel Notley’s government used its majority in the legislature Tuesday to pass legislation that includes a carbon tax and completes the first stage of Alberta’s landmark strategy to combat climate change.
The legislation gives legal teeth to the multibillion-dollar tax that is to take effect Jan. 1 and will raise the price of heating bills and gasoline as an incentive to go green.
It also lowers the small-business tax rate to two per cent from three and establishes an agency to fund energy savings programs.
The final tally was 42-39.
After the results were announced, Notley shook hands with government house leader Brian Mason and exchanged a thumbs-up with Environment Minister Shannon Phillips.
“I’m extremely proud of this piece of legislation and extremely proud of this government’s climate leadership plan,” Notley told the house just prior to the bill’s passage.
The carbon levy is to take effect Jan. 1. Gasoline at the pumps will rise by 4.49 cents a litre and diesel will go up 5.35 cents a litre.
The government estimates higher heating and gasoline fees will cost the average family an extra $443 next year.
Opposition members say the government is lowballing that figure.
“This is going to pull at least a thousand dollars from every household in Alberta,” said Wildrose Opposition Leader Brian Jean.
The Albertan government is offering rebates to poor people, which may or may not cover the surge in energy costs. If the horrific rise in deaths of elderly people in Britain is any guide, a lot of these rebates will miss the target. Poor people in Britain theoretically receive energy rebates – yet somehow far too many still have to choose between heating and eating.