The Canadian government plans to impose a carbon tax on Alberta as of January 1, 2020, in response to the province scrapping its own system for pricing greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced the decision on June 13.
“It’s unfortunate,” McKenna said. “We clearly need Alberta to be part of our climate plan because Alberta has the highest emissions in the country.”
Alberta stopped collecting its carbon tax on May 30, in line with a campaign promise from United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney. For the trucking industry, it immediately shaved C$0.08 cents per liter of diesel, or about US$1.20 per gallon.
The federal government’s move was expected, since it has imposed the tax on four other provinces without a carbon pricing scheme in line with the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
Alberta’s government has yet to officially respond. However, it will likely challenge the tax in court, as has Ontario and Saskatchewan.
The Alberta government, echoing the position of other conservative provincial leaders, has argued that the tax hurts businesses and consumers with higher costs, while failing to curb pollution.
McKenna noted that all of the revenue would be returned to the province.
Whether the carbon tax will affect Alberta will depend on the outcome of October’s federal elections. A Conservative defeat of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would likely bring an end to carbon pricing in Canada through a repeal of the legislation.