More than 1,000 rally against carbon tax at Alberta legislature

More than a thousand people were out at the Alberta legislature on Saturday to protest the carbon tax put forward by the NDP government.

Brian Jean, Kerry Diotte among speakers at the event, hosted by the Rebel Media group

More than a thousand people crowded the Alberta legislature today to rally against the provincial carbon tax put forward by the NDP. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

More than a thousand people were out at the Alberta legislature on Saturday to protest the carbon tax put forward by the NDP government.

The rally was hosted by the right-wing Rebel Media group, who bussed people from Red Deer and Calgary for support. Leader of the Wildrose party Brian Jean and federal MP for Edmonton-Greisbach Kerry Diotte spoke at the rally.

Many of the rally attendees were small-business owners and oilfield workers — one with a sign that read, "I would not be here if I was working." Those at the rally used the gathering as a way to vent their frustrations about a tax they don't agree with.

Brian Jean speaks to the rally. He was one of several politicians at the rally today to fight the NDP's carbon tax. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Terrance Newman was one attendee that disagrees with the carbon tax. He said he thinks a majority of Albertans don't want the extra tax, and thinks the government should hold a referendum. "If Notley believes it's the will of the people to have a carbon tax, go to the people," he told CBC News. "What's wrong with that?"

Chris Glassford also feels as though he wasn't consulted. He said he feels excluded by the NDP, who he said didn't consult with Albertans enough. "Regardless of how the NDP were voted in, they were voted in to represent the people of Alberta," he said. "They're not doing that. They're representing themselves."

Chris Glassford is against the carbon tax and feels like he is not represented by the government. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

For small business owners, the carbon tax will be an extra cost to incur — and for Jarvis Kosowan, a small business owner in Calgary, it can be all the difference. "It's been very, very destructive in the whole province," he said of the NDP's proposed tax.

"I don't think we need more taxation right now on the small businesses and the people who are unemployed."

Maureen Eelhart said her husband and neighbours work in the oil patch. She said the last thing Albertans need right now is another bill to look at. "It's going to cause a lot of heartache on families that are struggling already," she said.

The carbon tax will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and the expected amount it will cost Albertans varies according to party. Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the tax will cost Albertan families an average of $500 a year with 60 per cent of families getting a full rebate. Jean and the Wildrose party said it could cost Albertan families as much as $1,000 extra per year.

With files from Zoe Todd