Tuesday saw an uncommon moment of agreement between Alberta’s ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) and the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), as both initiated similar motions, appealing to Ottawa for enriched actions toward bolstering energy affordability nationwide.
The federal government finds itself under escalating political heat following its recent pronouncement of a triennial halt to the carbon tax on home heating oil. This measure poses as a direct benefit to Atlantic Canadians however, it has prompted discontent elsewhere.
Alberta NDP leader, Rachel Notley, brings attention to the perceived lack of equanimity. “The recent carbon tax relief may serve as cold comfort – quite literally – to Canadians situated outside Atlantic Canada, let’s remember, including here, in Alberta,” she iterated during Tuesday’s legislative session. The NDP leader moved to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration to extend the carbon tax relief to additional modes of home heating.
Contrarily, her motion was defeated, as the UCP proposed a similar motion. “It is blatantly unjustifiable for the federal administration to select certain provinces and specific types of home heating for exemption from their carbon tax,” expressed Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s Environment Minister.
Pushing the agenda further, the UCP’s motion pleads with Ottawa to accept that the temporary freeze on carbon pricing will engender disparities for citizens relying on other heating media, for example, natural gas. Alongside, it beckons the federal authority to totally abolish the carbon tax.
Despite the mounting pressure, Prime Minister Trudeau firmly held his ground on Tuesday. “There will be categorically no further exclusions or adjournments of the price on pollution,” he proclaimed. Amplifying on his stand, Trudeau added that the initiative is particularly targeted at ending the use of more pollutant and costlier home heating oil that disproportionately affects low-income Canadians.