New leader of Canada's Alberta province chips away at Trudeau's green plan




  • In Science
  • 2019-04-17 16:19:06Z
  • By By Julie Gordon
FILE PHOTO: United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney speaks in front of the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal in Edmonton
FILE PHOTO: United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney speaks in front of the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal in Edmonton  

By Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's already shaky bid to persuade Canadians to fight climate change will get even tougher after the election on Tuesday of conservative Jason Kenney as premier of the energy-rich province of Alberta.

Kenney and his United Conservative Party easily trounced left-leaning incumbent Premier Rachel Notley of the New Democratic Party in the provincial vote, where climate actions were made the scapegoat for Alberta's economic woes.

The province's economy has struggled to recover since oil prices plummeted in 2014 and spurred an exodus of major energy firms from Alberta.

Kenney, who opposes much of Trudeau's green agenda, had pledged to repeal a provincial carbon tax that Notley introduced. Such a move would automatically trigger a federal carbon tax in Alberta that is aimed at provinces that do not have their own plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Alberta will become the fifth out of Canada's 10 provinces to oppose a carbon tax, indicating the scale of the challenge for Trudeau's Liberals ahead of the October general election. Three provinces are suing the federal government over the levy.

"The carbon tax is all economic pain and no environmental gain. (Albertans) want to scrap the carbon tax cash grab," Kenney told cheering supporters late on Tuesday.

In Alberta, Canada's most traditionally conservative province, the Liberals face an uphill battle to hold on to their three seats. Kenney's antagonism, particularly on climate matters and pipeline construction, is unlikely to help.

Trudeau, who was leading in polls at the start of the year, is trailing his Conservative Party rival Andrew Scheer because of a scandal over his alleged interference in a corporate corruption case.

"Even losing three seats in Alberta is really a big problem," said Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker.

Notley has been an occasional Trudeau ally, and she introduced Alberta's own carbon tax in 2015 as part of a wide-ranging effort to make the province's oil and gas sector more environment-friendly.

CARBON CLASH

Despite the challenges, Trudeau has no intention of changing his mind.

"There are premiers right across the country right now that have gotten elected ... and have made it very, very clear they do not think doing anything to fight climate change is a priority. And I disagree with them," he told a town hall on Tuesday.

In Ontario, the most populous of the provinces, Premier Doug Ford killed a provincial cap-and-trade system after his election last year, forcing Trudeau's government to fully impose its carbon tax on April 1.

Prices at the pump jumped immediately, which could hurt Trudeau's chances in auto-dependant suburban swing ridings around Toronto. The Liberals need to win as many seats as they can in the vote-rich province.

"Ontario has another strong partner that will fight for Canadian families against the job-killing federal carbon tax!" Ford tweeted late on Tuesday, referring to Kenney's win.

The provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, which have conservative governments, have not implemented their own emission plans and are now paying the federal tax.

Federal Conservative leader Scheer has pledged to kill the carbon tax if elected, though he has yet to outline a climate plan of his own.

"I think it's really unfortunate," Catherine McKenna, Canada's environment minister, told Reuters of the push to kill the federal carbon levy. "It seems to be part of a movement by this generation of conservative politicians to not make decisions based on science, evidence and facts."

McKenna noted that Canada's carbon tax effort was being closely watched around the world as momentum builds in other nations to tackle climate change.

And support is growing at home as well. An Angus Reid poll in November showed that a majority of Canadians, 54 percent, supported the carbon tax.

This result was bolstered by the Trudeau government's pledge that most revenues from the tax would be returned to consumers in the form of a rebate worth hundreds of dollars a year for a typical family.

Kenney, meanwhile, told the rally that Albertans took the challenge of climate change seriously, adding without elaborating, "we are world leaders in innovating to reduce emissions."

(Additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary, Alberta and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by David Ljunggren)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Dem Senators to NBC: Make First Debate About Climate Change
Dem Senators to NBC: Make First Debate About Climate Change

Photos GettyA trio of Democratic senators wrote a letter to the top official at NBC News on Thursday calling on the network to make climate change the primary focus of the first 2020 presidential primary debate, which the network is set to host next month. "We are writing to strongly encourage NBC News and MSNBC to devote a significant amount of time to a discussion on climate action at the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debate," reads the letter from Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to NBC News Chairman Andy Lack. "The facts are clear. Democratic voters across the country have accepted the facts about climate change, are seeing...

Migration to the north: climate change puts plankton on the move
Migration to the north: climate change puts plankton on the move

Climate change that has warmed the world's oceans has prompted a "worrying" northward migration among some communities of the smallest organisms in the sea: plankton. The unassuming creatures are sometimes referred to as the "building blocks" of the ocean because of their importance in the food chain, and their apparent migration is another indicator of the profound effect of climate change on the planet. "This isn't good news for marine ecosystems," said Lukas Jonkers, the study's lead author and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bremen's Center for Marine Environmental Sciences.

EU court rejects historic citizen
EU court rejects historic citizen's climate case

The European Court of Justice has thrown out a landmark case brought by 10 families who sued the European Union over the threats climate change poses to their homes and livelihoods, lawyers said Wednesday. The team behind the case said the bloc's top court earlier this month dismissed it on procedural grounds, arguing that individuals do not have the right to challenge the bloc's environmental plans. Families from across Europe, Kenya and Fiji in May last year filed suit against the European Union, claiming it must do more to limit climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions and the droughts, floods and sea level rises it brings.

Last days of May? UK leader in peril as Brexit offer slammed
Last days of May? UK leader in peril as Brexit offer slammed

LONDON (AP) - British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure Wednesday to scrap a planned vote on her tattered Brexit blueprint - and to call an end to her embattled premiership - after her attempt at compromise got the thumbs-down from both her own Conservative Party and opposition lawmakers.

Britain
Britain's May tries to break Brexit deadlock with offer of 'new deal'
  • World
  • 2019-05-21 19:26:55Z

Three years after Britain voted to leave the EU and almost two months after the planned departure date, May is mounting a last effort to try to get the deeply divided parliament's backing for a divorce deal and leave office with some kind of legacy. May offered what she called "significant

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Science

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.