Danielle Smith testifies before Parliament against carbon tax

'This isn't just reckless. It's immoral and it's inhumane and the added pressure will ruin countless lives, futures and dreams,' she said.

Danielle Smith testifies before Parliament against carbon tax
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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith testified before a parliamentary committee Thursday to convey her vehement opposition to the federal carbon tax. 

“I’m here on behalf of Albertans and Canadians, who are struggling with severe financial pressures,” prefaced the premier in her opening remarks. “They are increasingly desperate because they are facing a cost of living crisis not seen in decades.”

She told MPs on the Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates that families are forced to make difficult choices to afford the basic necessities.

“Over the last two years, inflation and high interest rates have driven up prices on everything, from food to gas to housing,” said Smith.

“Social services are under intense strain as more and more people reach out for help,” she added.

“Many for the first time in their lives,” she said.

Alberta’s premier implored the federal government to abandon the carbon tax and for “common sense, compassion and responsible government to prevail.”

On April 1st, the federal carbon tax is pegged for another $15 increase per ton of carbon dioxide to $80.

Passed in 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act capped the tax at $50 per tonne. But the federal carbon tax has faced subsequent $15 increases 2023 until it reaches $170 in 2030. 

It currently costs 14.4 cents per litre of gasoline, up from 8.8 cents in 2021. That is expected to rise to 17 cents April 1st, and rise to 37.6 cents in 2030. 

“Despite the federal government's claims that Canadians benefit from rebates, the carbon tax on a net basis will cost Albertans more than $900 this fiscal year,” testified Smith.

She earlier claimed the tax is "designed by the wealthy and well-connected" while not readily impacting their household finances.

On Thursday, she said the carbon tax has “worsened Canadian stress and financial pain,” forewarning the cost to each Albertan will “more than triple” in the next six years to a staggering expense of $2700 net by the 2030/31 fiscal year.

“This isn't just reckless. It's immoral and it's inhumane and the added pressure will ruin countless lives, futures and dreams.”

“It's a weight that Canadians can't bear,” said Smith.

The Alberta government has been calling on Ottawa to eliminate the carbon tax since 2019, but to no avail.

“Let me repeat what I've said many times before, we understand the importance of achieving carbon neutrality and we can manage it together as a nation without punishing everyday Albertans,” she reiterated.

On Wednesday, she told Rebel News her government has developed and funded $1.7 billion worth of pilot projects for emissions reduction in Alberta. 

Among the examples include investments from Dow Chemical for a net zero petrochemical plant, and Heidelberg Materials for a net zero cement plant. Smith also mentioned in passing that Alberta’s carbon capture utilization and storage capacity is second only to Russia. 

“We just announced the opening of the first privately operated hydrogen fueling station just outside of Edmonton in Leduc County as the backbone to start building out our hydrogen infrastructure,” she added.

“I can tell you, we met our methane emissions reduction target, — met it early by 45% below the 2005 levels [without a provincial carbon tax],” Smith said.

On Thursday, she emphasized her government’s record of reducing emissions without “compromising jobs” and “hurting the industries that have created so much wealth and prosperity for our country.”

“Our province has a long history of climate action with more than two decades of programs and policies that have led to emissions reductions and inspired other jurisdictions to follow our lead,” contends Smith.

Since 2005, Alberta has reduced its electricity emissions by 53% without the imposition of Clean Energy Regulations (CER).

“Provinces and territories must be able to create emissions reduction plans that reflect their distinct needs and priorities,” she added.

“The only thing the federal carbon tax is achieving is higher costs,” she explained.

“If the federal government wants to protect Canadians' quality of life, it should step up and cancel the carbon tax increase immediately,” said Smith.

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