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“The prime minister continues to impose his Ottawa-knows-best attitude on Alberta at a time when Albertans can least afford,” he said.
Currently, Albertans get their carbon tax rebates when they file their taxes, but under the new system the money will come in quarterly cheques or direct deposit.
Trudeau said most families should get more back than they pay in tax.
Ottawa imposes the carbon tax on jurisdictions that do not implement their own carbon pricing model, including Alberta.
University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe said the increase in the carbon tax means that, as of 2030, an Alberta family of four will get a rebate of $3,200 a year, or $1,600 for an individual.
He said using carbon tax as the “heavy lifter” when it comes to climate policy is more efficient than letting government decide how to lower emissions.
“It leaves it to individuals and businesses to decide whether and how to lower emissions, they look at the carbon tax and ask themselves, ‘Can I do something different to avoid paying this?’” he said.
Tombe said if Alberta chose to create its own carbon tax, the province would be able to use the rebate money how it sees fit, including to pay down the deficit, or to give higher rebates to those most in need.
“If the government were to take the $170 per tonne and just have a rebate for low-income individuals, structured in line with what British Columbia currently does, for example, then by 2030, it could have four and a half billion dollars towards the provincial budget,” Tombe said.