Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the NDP government announced its climate tax policy. We’re looking forward to reviewing the entire plan in detail and talking with people, industry, and communities before we make our final comment. At first glance there are a couple of positive aspects. However, there are some things we are concerned about.
Number one, we know the government only received the climate change panel’s report in the past few days. The government’s policy seems to have been developed well in advance of that report, so we’re concerned that the panel’s work is only window dressing for the changes the government wanted to make anyway.
Number two, we disagree with the economy-wide carbon tax. Alberta was the only and first jurisdiction in North America to put a price on carbon and then only paid by high emitters. We are concerned that this carbon tax is going to hit low-income Albertans at a time when many are already losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet. This tax is estimated to take more than $3 billion a year out of Alberta’s pockets and into an expensive government economic intervention. Alberta households will pay over $500 per year for their heating, electrical, and gasoline bills.
Number three, goodbye Alberta advantage. We believe the Premier broke her promise to Albertans before the budget that there would be no provincial sales tax. A tax this broad by any other name is still a tax. This carbon tax will affect every Albertan, not just higher income earners.
Number four, we have not seen any plan for transitioning communities and Alberta families who will be affected by the early phase-out of coal. We’re concerned that Albertans continue to lose their jobs, and this government is still without a plan to address this. A mediator will not bring those jobs back. Albertans want to do their part for the environment. They always have.
Here is the bottom line, Mr. Speaker. The NDP job losses are now, and they are certain. The NDP economy is years or decades away and uncertain and probably part of a fantasy economy, which may never exist.
On November 23, 2016, Ric McIver highlighted disadvantages of an economy-wide carbon tax.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
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