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Scrapping carbon tax could backfire on Alberta: researcher

Last Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 8:00 am MDT

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It’s a warning seemingly directed at United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney: Alberta would be foolish to eliminate its carbon policy.

That’s the message from Dr. Harrie Vredenburg, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

Vredenburg said his message wasn’t directly aimed at Kenney, but the UCP leader has promised to scrap the Climate Change Leadership Plan introduced by Rachel Notley’s government in January 2018.

 

The carbon policy was intended to get pipelines built so Alberta could ship oil to overseas markets.

Vredenburg believes by eliminating the policy, the province risks picking an even bigger fight with Ottawa over pipelines, which could lead to even longer delays.

“Are the feds going to say ‘no’ to any pipelines? Unlikely. They put a lot of money into buying Trans Mountain and they’re probably not going to leave it at that, but they may drag it on to the fall federal election and we would have more pipeline sagas going forward.”

The Trudeau government remains committed to its carbon reduction plan and would impose its own tax on Alberta if the provincial levy was eliminated.

“The (federal) Liberal government was keen to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline, but it would only be built if Canada could stand up to its carbon policies internationally,” Vredenburg said.

READ MORE: New carbon tax begins for four Canadian provinces

In 2016, Canada was one of 55 nations that signed the Paris Agreement on climate change that aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics argue though that the attempt at social license has backfired.

Despite Alberta’s carbon tax, provinces like British Columbia and Quebec continue to oppose any attempts to build pipelines that would allow oil from Alberta to reach ports.

Environmental protestors have also vowed to block the Trans Mountain project if it’s granted federal approval, which could come as early as next month.