Red Deer included in Alberta rallies opposed to carbon tax

Gatherings across Alberta will take place Nov. 5

Rallies across Alberta in 11 communities — including Red Deer — are planned on Nov. 5 with the focus on the pending carbon tax.

Organizers of the Alberta Wide Rally said they will be asking participants to support a petition calling for a referendum on the carbon tax, slated to kick in Jan. 1.

Todd Beasley, of Calgary, who is the managing director of the rallies, said Friday that the provincial government does not have a mandate for the tax on fuel and that it will have “serious societal consequences” for Alberta, especially when there are technological advancements in carbon capture and storage.

Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, will impose a $20 per tonne carbon levy in 2017 ($30 in 2018) to reduce greenhouse gases and mitigate the impact of climate change.

There will be rebates between $100 and $360 for low- and middle-income families and individual consumers. The less fuels a household uses, the less tax. For single people, they will be eligible for a rebate if they earn under $47,500, and for families under $95,000. The government has said that 66 per cent of households will get a full or partial rebate.

Municipalities will not be eligible for rebates. To help businesses adjust, the small business tax rate will be lowered from three per cent to two per cent as of January.

Bill 20 also establishes a new provincial agency, Energy Efficient Alberta, mandated to develop and deliver provincial-scale energy efficiency and small scale renewable programs and services.

The province argues that Bill 20 will create jobs by investing in a lower-carbon, energy-efficient economy.

Alberta Wide Rally said the net result of the bill will be increased costs of goods and services, jobs will be lost.

Beasley said that his group is comprised of “reasonable people acting reasonable,” not “wingnuts or extremists.”

There will be reputable speakers at the rallies, and more details will be released next week, he said.

The group said the rallies are open to all Albertans and political parties and besides Red Deer, they will be held in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Camrose, Drayton Valley, Edmonton, Hanna, Airdrie, Calgary, Brooks and Lethbridge.

The Red Deer rally starts at 11 a.m. at City Hall.

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