By Cole Parkinson
With the repeal of the provincial carbon tax earlier in the year, the United Conservatives have been happy with the results so far.
With it being one of the first promises made on the campaign trail, the UCP introduced Bill 1, An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax, which received Royal Assent on June 4 and the carbon levy no longer applies to any type of fuel which started on May 30.
“I think the reception has been tremendous. This is something we had been campaigning on for years now, not just through the 28-day campaign,” said Cardston-Siksika MLA Joseph Schow. “We are really excited about the fact we were able to repeal the carbon tax. We feel like it was a promise we made right from the beginning. In fact, when I started working with the now Premier (Jason Kenney) and helping with his campaign.”
The levy was a tax on transportation and heating fuels which originally started on Jan.1, 2017.
Rates for the carbon tax at the end of May were at 8.03 cents per litre for diesel, 6.73 cents per litre for gasoline, $1.517 per gigajoule for natural gas and 4.62 cents per litre for propane.
“It was the single largest increase in the history of the province. It was one the NDP did not campaign on and they pulled the wool over Albertan’s eyes. We promised Albertans, plain and simple, that we would repeal the job-killing carbon tax and we did just that,” added Schow. “On a personal note, standing at 6’9, I was happy to straighten myself as tall as possible when I voted to repeal that bill because across my constituency people were ticked. People were angry that the government would have the audacity to implement a carbon tax that they did not campaign on and the government acted like a doormat to the Justin Trudeau Liberals. They were not happy with that but they are happy with this government repealing this carbon tax.”
While the provincial carbon tax has been repealed, the federal carbon tax is slated to come into effect for Alberta on Jan. 1, 2020, though that may be subject to change after this fall’s federal election.
Other provinces who have been vocal in their disdain for the federal carbon tax include Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. For the time being though, the UCP government is optimistic on the benefits they will see from repealing the carbon tax.
First and foremost, they believe businesses will start to see Alberta once again as a place where they can come and prosper.
“First and foremost it brings back investor stability. People have come to Alberta for generations looking for opportunity. It’s a province where people can come here and the only thing standing in their way is your own initiative,” stated Schow. “Now we (had) a government that is implementing taxes they are not even campaigning on. It told people around the country and around the world that Alberta is a shaky ship. Alberta was a place where you couldn’t depend on the government to have some consistency and bring some stability to the financial situation.”
Across the riding of Cardston-Siksika, Schow says the majority of reception to the repeal of the carbon tax has been positive as well.
“The biggest thing I am hearing that people are happy about is the level of stability and this opportunity to move forward without any surprises.”