The province’s climate change bill kept MLAs at the legislature until 4am Tuesday, with the NDP rejecting all major amendments to Bill 20.
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark was there all night and says the outcome is disappointing.
“There’s a $3.4-billion allocation for quote other initiatives,” explains Clark. “We don’t know what the money is going to be spent on in the next five years. What is the energy efficiency agency going to do with its $645-million? These are tremendously large amounts of money, with no details.”
— Greg Clark (@GregClark4AB) June 7, 2016
Clark says he supports a carbon tax in principle but believes Bill 20 is too vague.
“If we want to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions, I think it’s the right tool, so long as it’s truly revenue neutral. By that I mean we see offsetting cuts to personal income tax and corporate tax. I tried to bring exactly that amendment, and of course the NDs voted it down,”
Clark says without the offsetting cuts tax increases for Albertans are mounting.
“It feels like its death by a thousand tax increases,” explains Clark. “You’ve got a carbon tax and for restaurant owners and small business owners, the minimum wage, that cumulative impact.”
Clark says the opposition forced the spring sitting to extend beyond last week’s planned adjournment seeking to improve the Climate Change Act but to no avail.
“We in the opposition brought more than 20 amendments and unfortunately, the NDs voted down all but one and the only one accepted was a fairly small technical amendment that really didn’t change anything,” explains Clark. “It is disappointing that we tried to make the bill better but they rejected every attempt we made.”
Clark says the carbon tax is just another load Albertans are being asked to bear
“If you’re in the agriculture world, the cost of implementing Bill 6, the farm changes is certainly a consideration,” explains Clark. “And yes, we’ve seen some significant property tax hikes on the city side as well.”
MLAs will be back in their seats at 10am Tuesday for third and final reading of the bill.
There is little the opposition can do to block the bill at third reading so the legislature is expected to adjourn for the summer around noon.
Premier Rachel Notley expects to pass the first components of a climate change strategy this week.
Alberta is implementing a broad-based carbon tax in January and plans to cap oilsands emissions and phase out coal-fired electricity. (twd, Newstalk770)