Albertans have been getting a raw deal with the carbon tax since day one and things will only get worse if we let the Trudeau government impose its tax.
When Alberta’s economy-wide tax kicked in there were less than a hand-full of provinces that had a carbon tax. Taxpayers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and in the territories weren’t paying the punitive tax.
On April 1, the federal government imposed a carbon tax on all provinces that didn’t already have one in place. This tax on gasoline means taxpayers will pay another 4.4 cents per litre in 2019 and 6.6 cents per litre in 2020, compared to the carbon tax of 6.7 cents per litre which Albertans have been paying since 2018.
Newly elected Premier Jason Kenney is rightly respecting voters with a commitment to repeal the Alberta carbon tax, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is vowing to retaliate by imposing the federal carbon tax.
Under the federal tax, Albertans will be forced to pay 11.1 cents per litre by 2022. That’s bad enough, but asecret federal government briefing document said that to reach Canada’s climate target, the price would have to reach 66.3 cents per litre by 2050. That would mean a carbon tax of over $42 per 64-litre fill-up.
But the most frustrating part is that the federal government is giving special treatment to other provinces.
Quebec and Nova Scotia aren’t required to have specific carbon tax levels because they have implemented a cap-and-trade system.
Alberta’s carbon tax currently costs nearly 2 cents more per litre for gasoline than Quebec’s tax. By 2022, the federal carbon tax is expected to be twice as high in Alberta as it is in Quebec, according to Jean Michaud and Germain Belzile of the Montreal Economic Institute.
The Nova Scotia government brags about its sweetheart cap-and-trade deal.
“The program will add about 1 cent per litre to the price of gas, compared with about 11 cents per litre by 2022 under the federal approach,” states the government’s backgrounder.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa allowed the carbon tax to be offset by a cut to provincial gas excise taxes of 4 cents per litre. In Prince Edward Island, Ottawa allowed an off-setting excise tax cut of 3.4 cents per litre. That means the effective carbon tax at the pumps in Newfoundland and P.E.I. is 0.42 cents per litre and 1 cent per litre respectively, much lower than the carbon tax Ottawa is threatening to impose on Alberta.
It’s also unclear whether P.E.I. will increase its carbon tax after 2020, and Newfoundland’s federally-approved plan says that “carbon tax rates will only increase based on changes to Atlantic parity that allows for rate increases.”
Albertans have been ripped off by the NDP carbon tax and will continue to be treated unfairly under the federal tax. And with all the money Albertans are being forced to pay, our politicians can’t even confirm whether the tax will do anything to reduce global greenhouse gases.
“Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference,” acknowledged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May stated, “the government’s current carbon price gets us almost nowhere.”
There is growing opposition towards carbon taxes, including our newly-elected United Conservative government. Taxpayers are counting on our new government to fight Trudeau’s tax which will unfairly punish Albertans for fuelling our cars, growing our economy and heating our homes during cold winters.
Franco Terrazzano is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation