Rachel Notley says support for Trudeau carbon plan requires feds to act on pipelines
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the ‘jury’s out’ on whether her government will support the Trudeau government’s plan to price carbon pollution but federal support for a pipeline would help sweeten the deal.
Notley told The West Block’s Tom Clark that her government supports the idea of a “single price for carbon” across the country and if Alberta’s NDP government is going to get behind the Liberal carbon plan it will require real action on a new oil pipeline to Canada’s coast.
“We support the notion of a common price for carbon across the country,” Notley said. “I think it’s an important tool to ensure that the national as a whole moves forward on important emissions reduction programs on a province by province basis.”
“We need to get a pipeline to tidewater, the sooner the better,” she added.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week his government will introduce a minimum price for carbon pollution. The announcement was sharply criticized by several premiers, including Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall who’s been in a war of words with the prime minister.
“From a political perspective, both levels of government have to be able to work together,” Notley said. “What we’re saying is our jury’s out on that second part.”
The Liberal plan will require provinces to impose a $10 per tonne price on carbon by 2018 and increase it to $50 per tonne by 2022.
WATCH: Political fallout from Liberal carbon plan
If a province doesn’t put a price on carbon by 2018, Ottawa will impose its own price and return the revenue to the province.
Alberta already has a plan for its own carbon tax based on the equivalent of $20 per tonne of carbon emissions on Jan. 1 that is scheduled to rise to $30 a tonne in 2018.
Notley declined to mention a specific pipeline in quid pro quo for supporting the Liberal’s plan, including Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline which would send oil from Alberta to ports in B.C.
“Obviously Trans Mountain is the next one that’s coming up, but the bottom line is this, we must be able to diversify our energy markets in order to get the greatest value for the owners of the resources and for our economy here as a whole here in Alberta and of course in Canada,” the premier said. “Frankly, the health of the energy sector has implications all across this nation.”
Several premiers including Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister have ruled out a tax-based approached and aren’t willing to commit to a cap-and-trade system.
Premier Wall has called Trudeau’s announcement a “betrayal” and told Tom Clark he is willing to take his fight to the Supreme Court.
“At a time when our energy sector in this country, which employs a lot of Canadians, is reeling – that’s the time we’re talking about a new carbon tax to come in?” Wall said Sunday.
Earlier this week, the Alberta premier said she’s not interested in presenting a united front with other provincial leaders against Ottawa’s carbon pricing plan.
Notley also questioned the timing of the Liberal’s decision and said she hopes Ottawa takes a more collaborative approach in negotiating a new health accord with the provinces.
“On the carbon tax issue, as much as we were unaware of the timing of that announcement, quite frankly, I don’t think that it was the best timed,” she said. “I would hope that the federal government would be interested in moving forward in a more collaborative way on this issue that of course is so fundamentally important to all provinces in the country.”
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