by Morinville News Staff

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips introduced Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act Tuesday, a proposed law the government says implements key elements of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, and will create jobs by investing in a higher-value, lower-carbon, energy-efficient economy.

“Our plan to reduce carbon pollution will diversify the economy, create jobs, protect the health of Albertans and erase any doubt about Alberta’s environmental record,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks; Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office in a release Tuesday. “It’s the right thing to do today and for future generations. Climate change denial is wrong for our economy, and it’s wrong for our Alberta’s future.”

The legislation would set into law Alberta’s carbon levy and carbon levy rebate, ensure revenue from the carbon levy is invested into climate change actions, and establish Energy Efficiency Alberta, a provincial agency the government says will “develop and deliver provincial-scale energy efficiency and small scale renewable programs and services.” If the legislation passes, the province’s $20 per tonne carbon levy will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Bill 20 would also amend the Corporate Tax Act, to reduce the small business tax rate, which will help small businesses adjust to the price of carbon. Effective January 1, 2017, the rate will be lowered from three per cent to two per cent.

But the Opposition Wildrose Party say the government’s new carbon tax bill will just make things worse for families and businesses.

“Albertans are hurting across the province, and many families are waking up wondering if they will be able to hold on to their job by the end of the month,” said Wildrose Leader Brian Jean. “An aggressive carbon tax that simply squeezes families and businesses for every spare penny will not help people pay their mortgages or get back to work. Without acting in concert with competing economies here in North America, this tax will just make it more difficult for our economy to recover.”

The Wildrose believe the carbon tax will affect Alberta’s charitable, health and education sectors, who have not been exempted from the carbon tax.

It is expected the average household will pay an extra $100 per yea as a result of the carbon tax.

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