Kenney says UCP supports Saskatchewan challenge against federal carbon tax
'This is all economic pain and no environmental gain'
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney says his party is applying for intervener status to support the Government of Saskatchewan's constitutional challenge against the federal carbon tax.
Kenney said the levy will cost consumers across Canada billions of dollars, and called on Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to stand up against the tax as well.
"This is all economic pain and no environmental gain," Kenney said.
"We'd be going to court to defend the interests of our economy and our taxpayers.… We believe that it is an unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government into provincial jurisdiction."
Saskatchewan's government has said it believes carbon emissions fall under provincial and not federal jurisdiction. Last fall, Manitoba sought a legal opinion to see if it would win a court challenge, but after receiving the opinion decided to sign the federal framework.
The federal plan sets the starting price at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, increasing to $50 per tonne in 2022. Money collected would be returned to the province.
Provinces have been given until the end of the year to submit carbon pricing plans that fall in line with the federal guidelines. Alberta's carbon pricing plan was enacted in advance of the federal government's.
UCP would repeal Alberta levy if elected
Kenney said there's no guarantee the application for intervener status would be approved, saying that decision is up to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals.
"We think it's important for there to be a voice at this critical constitutional challenge on behalf of the majority of Albertans," he said.
The UCP leader also denied that the court challenge would add to the continued uncertainty around the Trans Mountain pipeline, calling the two "totally separate issues."
If the UCP is elected, Kenney said, the party's first act of government would be to repeal the provincial carbon levy. And, at that point, if the federal Liberals tried to impose a federal tax, the UCP would follow Saskatchewan and launch its own court challenge.
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With files from Mike Symington, Tim Devlin, Adam Hunter