Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Speaker of the house Robert Wanner puts a pin on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney after being sworn in at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Tuesday.

New UCP members sworn in as Alberta legislature poised to axe carbon tax

EDMONTON — On the eve of Alberta’s carbon tax heading to the chopping block, the province’s environment minister says green projects currently being funded by the levy will go ahead.

But Jason Nixon says once the Carbon Tax Repeal Act is passed and implemented by May 30, there will be nothing new.

“Projects that have already been approved will continue, but going forward no, they won’t,” Nixon, who is also the government house leader, told reporters Tuesday.

The spring session under new Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservatives begins Wednesday.

There will be a speech from the throne to outline government plans, followed by the introduction of a bill to repeal the carbon tax.

Repealing the act was the signature promise of Kenney’s successful election campaign. He says the tax was a frontline failure, making no impact on greenhouse gas emissions while taking money from Alberta families.

The tax on fossil-fuel heating and gasoline at the pumps was phased in by former NDP premier Rachel Notley’s government in 2017 and has raised more than $2 billion.

Much of that money was rebated to low and middle-income Albertans while the rest funded a range of green projects ranging from solar panels and energy-saving light bulbs to light rail transit construction.

Once the tax is repealed, the federal government has indicated it will introduce a federal carbon tax in Alberta as it has done in other provinces that have balked at bringing in their own carbon levies.

NDP environment critic Marlin Schmidt said Alberta repealing its tax is an abdication of responsibility.

“They’re just going to scrap the carbon tax, let everybody else deal with the fallout, and turn over the responsibility for climate change and all the things people want to do in this province to Ottawa and Justin Trudeau,” said Schmidt.

Also Tuesday, Kenney and the 62 other members of the United Conservative caucus were officially sworn in as MLAs. They join 24 members of the Opposition NDP caucus, led by Notley, who were sworn in last week.

“It is my fervent hope that as legislators on all sides of the house that we can and will work together to stop the coarsening of our public discourse and to raise the bar of civility, decorum and respect in this — the people’s house,” Kenney told the new members.

Members also elected the UCP’s Nathan Cooper as the new Speaker of the house, replacing Bob Wanner.

Cooper, representing the riding of Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, defeated NDP candidate Heather Sweet in a secret ballot.

He was then ceremonially dragged to the Speaker’s chair by Notley and Kenney as part of a tradition of forcing someone to take on the unenviable job.

Alberta Politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dashcam captures hair-raising near miss on Highway 2

Paramedic says his emergency driving training kicked in to avoid collision

Updated: Red Deer mourns loss of philanthropist Gary W. Harris

Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre stands as lasting legacy to businessman’s generosity

Skip The Dishes launches alcohol delivery in 3 Alberta cities

Some Alberta residents can now get their beer and wine delivered through… Continue reading

UPDATE: Road clear following three-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

Police say there was a “serious collision” near Sylvan Lake Wednesday afternoon.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Hospital unfairness makes me ill

The provincial government clearly isn’t without money. If it was, it wouldn’t… Continue reading

P.E.I.’s Birt through to championship round at Tournament of Hearts

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Suzanne Birt reached the championship round at the… Continue reading

Teachers focusing on innovations at Red Deer convention

More than 1,750 delegates are attending the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention. The… Continue reading

Passengers leave ship docked off Japan after quarantine ends

YOKOHAMA, Japan — About 500 passengers left the cruise ship Diamond Princess… Continue reading

Quebec premier calls for federal ultimatum to end rail blockades within days

OTTAWA — Quebec’s premier says he wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to… Continue reading

Canada’s laws don’t apply to chiefs who oppose pipeline

Re: “Blame the chaos on Trudeau,” David Marsden, Opinion, Feb. 15. I… Continue reading

We should be getting more dairy and eggs at lower prices

The last time the federal Conservative party selected a new leader, three… Continue reading

Most Read