Alberta families, already struggling to make ends meet, can expect to pay more at the pump, more to heat their homes, and more for just about everything once the NDP’s climate change policy, which includes a hefty carbon tax is put into place starting in 2017. In fact, 90 percent of the provincial economy will be impacted.
While the plan targets reducing carbon emissions by 20 megatonnes by 2020 and cut methane emissions from flaring and leakage by 2025, it also includes a carbon tax that Alberta consumers will be required to pay.
And if they are struggling now to make ends meet, Alberta families will have to dig a little deeper to pay for this carbon tax. Starting in 2017, Albertans will pay 4.7 cents a litre more for gasoline and 5.5 cents a litre more for diesel. In addition, they can expect the cost to heat their homes to increase by $320 a year in 2017 and by $470 the following year.
According to Notley’s announcement on Sunday, the $3 billion raised will to the building of green infrastructure, public transit, and a portion will go back to Albertans in the form of a rebate program that will go to 60 percent of those in Alberta with the lowest income. In time, the carbon tax revenue will be used to pay down the provincial debt.
“Low- and middle-income families will get support to help them make ends meet, so I think ultimately they will be able to manage this in a way that encourages reduced use of high-emissions activities while at the same time ensuring we don’t put an unnecessary burden on families,” said Notley. “Overall, every cent that comes through this carbon tax will go back in (to Alberta).”
Wildrose leader Brian Jean, says that Albertans who are already facing job losses and economic uncertainty will not see much benefit.
“The new carbon tax will make almost every single Alberta family poorer, while accelerated plans to shut down coal plants will lead to higher power prices and further job losses,” said Jean in a written statement. “Wildrose will be looking at every detail of this plan closely, and we will speak out against policies that hurt Albertans and the economy.”
Jean pointed to the adjustment fund, meant to assist small business, but could also be used to pay down debt as one example in the plan that would not help the majority of Alberta businesses. He also indicated that the tax plan will increase the cost of virtually everything produced in the province.
While critical of much of the carbon tax component of the climate change plan, Jean did agree with improving energy efficiency and greater use of low-carbon natural gas.
Alberta Liberal Party leader, David Swann called the climate change plan “welcome and ambitious” with close monitoring needed to ensure its effectiveness.
“We need to know what the process will be for this adjustment fund to make sure there isn’t undue hardship on lower income families and small businesses.”
Everything comes at a cost and there is no dispute about reducing carbon emissions, the policy appears on the surface to be aggressive and targeted, and time will tell to see just who is going to suffer the most.