July 13, 2024
McKenna backs off pledge to freeze carbon tax at $50 a tonne
Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon accused the Liberals of having a “hidden plan.”
Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon accused the Liberals of having a “hidden plan.”

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has backed off a pledge to freeze the carbon tax at $50 a tonne after 2022, saying a re-elected Liberal government would review the levy with provinces before deciding how to proceed.

In June, Ms. McKenna said the Liberals planned not to increase the tax once it hit $50, which equates to roughly 11 cents a litre of gasoline. The minister was responding to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that concluded Ottawa would have to increase the levy to $102 a tonne if it relied on the federal tax alone − rather than the current mix of policies − to meet its international target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, she said the government had no plan to increase the tax, but would make a decision on future levels toward the end of the next mandate after consultations with provinces, territories, businesses and Canadians more broadly.

The carbon tax will be a key issue in the Oct. 21 election. The federal Conservative Party opposes the levy and a number of conservative provincial governments are fighting the tax in court.

However, in a 2016 agreement, the federal, provincial and territorial governments, except for Saskatchewan, signed on to Ottawa’s plan to put a levy on carbon emissions. But the deal indicated the approach would be reviewed “by 2022 to confirm the path forward.”

“In our climate plan, we committed to 2022 with provinces and territories. So there are no plans to increase it – that was our plan to 2022,” Ms. McKenna said in a telephone interview last week.


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