In light of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s May 3 ruling that the federal carbon tax, the United Conservative Party might want to hold off on scrapping the NDP’s carbon levy for a while.
As you’ve probably heard, a panel of judges ruled 3-2 on Friday that the federal carbon tax imposed on Saskatchewan was entirely within the legislative authority of Parliament.
Premier Jason Kenney responded to the ruling that Alberta will be continuing with its own legal challenge. But will he still press forward with his promise to undo the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan?
While you might cheer the idea of the UCP doing so, here’s the thing: eliminating the NDP’s carbon tax just means you’re going to be paying the federal carbon tax instead.
In other words, the money collected at Alberta’s pumps and on your heating bills will instead be going to the federal government to do with as they will.
In 2017-2018 alone, a total of $1.19 billion collected through the carbon tax was re-invested in the Alberta economy. About $487 million went back to Albertans in the form of rebates, while $700 million was invested in “green” projects.
Considering how much hatred Albertans display for Justin Trudeau, are you really eager to throw more money out east?
Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moes can say this was a “narrow loss,” but this isn’t Game 1 in a best-of-seven playoff series. The legal arguments made in Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal aren’t going to greatly differ from those made in the courts of other provinces, and now judges will have to consider the precedent set in Saskatchewan.
Ah, you say, but what about the federal election? Surely the Conservative Party of Canada will ride to victory over the Liberals and undo the federal carbon levy.
I’ll readily concede the possibility Conservative Party of Canada might form the next government; certainly, the Liberals have been hurt by the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal.
But the federal election is still five months away and a lot can happen in that time. What if Andrew Scheer bombs against Trudeau in a leadership debate? What if the Liberal Party holds on to power?
And then what if the court challenges fail? What happens then? Is Alberta going to separate from Canada? That’s a delusional fantasy.
I’m simply making an argument to wait and see what happens in the next six months. Undoing the provincial carbon tax won’t achieve anything except a symbolic victory over the NDP, and I would suggest that symbolism carries little weight when we’re handing over a billion dollars over to the federal government.