Politics

'Leaders have a responsibility to tackle climate change,' McKenna says day after Kenney victory

One day after Alberta voted in a premier who promised that his first act in office would be to repeal his province's carbon pricing plan, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna reminded Jason Kenney that fighting climate change is as much his responsibility as it is hers.

Federal environment minister says Canada needs 'ambitious action by all provinces, including Alberta'

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna says Canada's leaders need to take action on climate change. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

One day after Alberta voted in a premier who promised that his first act in office would be to repeal his province's carbon pricing plan, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna reminded Jason Kenney that fighting climate change is as much his responsibility as it is hers.

"Politicians and leaders have a responsibility to tackle climate change," McKenna said today outside the Vancouver Aquarium, where she was promoting her government's budget decision to provide incentives for zero-emission cars.

"Our scientists issued a report that said that Canada's climate is changing at twice the global average, three times in the North," she said.

"We need to be working together to tackle the biggest challenges we face. There is probably no bigger challenge than climate change, and we need ambitious action by all provinces, including Alberta."

Alberta currently has a carbon tax of $30 per tonne, something premier-designate Kenney said he would scrap, just as Ontario Premier Doug Ford killed his province's cap-and-trade system once he took office.

Provinces that refuse to implement their own carbon pricing schemes, or who cancel existing ones, will have the federal government's carbon tax of $20 per tonne of greenhouse gases imposed upon them directly.

That's the situation in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and it will likely be the case in Alberta, as well.

Ontario is now arguing in the province's Court of Appeal that the federal government does not have the authority to impose the tax.

Carbon tax rebate

Based on federal figures, the tax in the non-compliant provinces will result in an approximate cost increase of 4.42 cents per litre for gasoline, 5.37 cents for light fuel oil (home heating fuel), 3.91 cents per cubic metre for natural gas and 3.10 cents per litre for propane.

Those costs are expected to rise each year as the carbon tax increases by $10 per tonne until it hits $50 in 2022 — meaning those costs will more than double in less than three years' time.

To compensate for the cost of living increase, the federal government has vowed to return every single dollar it collects from the carbon tax to the people in the province in which it was collected — an attempt to make household budgets whole on the money they'll shell out as part of the emissions reduction scheme.

Here's what the average household (defined by Ottawa as 2.6 people) will receive from the federal government:

  • In Ontario: about $300 a year.
  • In New Brunswick: $248.
  • In Manitoba: $336.
  • In Saskatchewan: $598.

The amount will vary based on the province and the number of people in a household. The payment is not a means-tested benefit, does not depend on income levels and will rise over time as the price on carbon rises. 

With files from from J.P. Tasker

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.