Alberta will not support the prime minister's national carbon price plan until the federal government makes serious progress on a pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to an ocean port, Premier Rachel Notley said Monday.
"This has to be concurrent with a pipeline," Notley said moments after Justin Trudeau announced his plan. "An ambitious public policy move like this, even as worthwhile as this, needs to be built on top of a fundamentally healthy economic foundation.
"And a new pipeline is what will give that not only to Alberta, but to the rest of Canada."
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The premier said she believes the federal government has been slow to act on developing pipelines.
"Albertans have contributed to Canada's prosperity for many, many years," Notley said. "And now we are saying, in order for us to continue doing that, in order for us to come back from the oil price crash that we're all experiencing, we need Canada to have our backs. And we need to get a pipeline."
$50 a tonne by 2022
Trudeau told MPs in the House of Commons that provinces can craft their own cap-and-trade system or put a direct price on carbon pollution — but it must meet the federal benchmark or "floor price."
The proposed price on carbon pollution should start at a minimum of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 per tonne by 2022, he said.
If neither a carbon pollution price or cap and trade system is in place by 2018, the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction, he said.
Notley unveiled Alberta's carbon price scheme last year, announcing the price as $20 per tonne in January 2017, rising to $30 per tonne in January 2018.
"We believe that the price that we are moving towards by 2018 can be accommodated within the current economic situation but we also know that had to come hand in hand with movement on a pipeline," she said.
"Now at this point when we are talking about this additional cost moving forward, we believe that much more strongly that it must be done with a pipeline."
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said he opposes any plan to impose a national price on carbon.
"Premier Notley should not be offering any support for this plan, period," he said in a news release.
"Tying a single pipeline approval to taxation sets a dangerous precedent and Alberta needs to make it clear to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this will never be acceptable.
"Our province's economic interests should not be held hostage by politicians in Ottawa."