Calgary Herald editorial: Carbon policy has to be fair

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea gives a speech.

Credit: Day Donaldson, via Flickr. CC by 2.0.

The concerns raised by premiers Brad Wall and Christy Clark at Friday’s first ministers’ meeting on national carbon price policy are worth noting as Albertans prepare for the implementation of the province’s own tax on Jan. 1, according to the Editorial board of the Calgary Herald.

British Columbia’s Clark threatened not to sign on to the framework over concerns that Ontario and Quebec’s cap and trade system is less burdensome than a carbon tax. It’s estimated that where other provinces will be paying a $30-per-tonne carbon price in 2020, Ontario and Quebec will pay just $19 per tonne because of their system.

Saskatchewan’s Wall has refused to agree to a levy, raising the prospect that Alberta’s eastern neighbour could operate without a tax if it successfully fights federal edicts in the courts.

“We’re being asked to agree to a carbon tax that the federal government admits will cascade through the system for Canadians, and we’re being asked to do it without a full assessment,” said Wall.

However, it’s also important to point out that British Columbia’s carbon tax is revenue neutral — other taxes have been reduced a commensurate amount to offset the levy.

In Alberta, the government is collecting the revenue and using it for rebates, investments in renewable energy sources and other initiatives.

The editorial voices concerns about Canada’s carbon policy potentially being rigged against provinces such as Alberta, unforeseen economic consequences, and reduced investment.
See the full editorial in the Calgary Herald.