Canada is sticking to a scheduled hike in its national carbon tax April 1, despite calls from Alberta and farmers to postpone the move because of the new coronavirus.
The federal government will continue to price greenhouse gas emissions during the pandemic because the fight against climate change must continue, Prime Minister Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday at a news conference in Ottawa.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s spokeswoman Moira Kelly confirmed in an interview after the news conference that Trudeau’s remarks meant the hike would proceed.
A levy on fossil fuels in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick is set to increase to C$30 ($21.18) per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent from C$20 per ton.
‘Now Is Not the Time’
The levy applies to the sale, import and use of 21 fossil fuel types including gasoline, aviation fuel and coal. It’s scheduled to go up C$10 per ton a year until 2022.
The levy doesn’t apply in Canada’s remaining provinces because they have their own domestic programs that meet a federal threshold.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney asked Ottawa March 18 to suspend the levy hike and other federal environmental rules to ease costs on businesses during the economic crisis stemming from Covid-19.
Canadian wheat farmers called for the hike to be canceled March 24 and said the increase would hurt agriculture firms, transportation companies and consumers.
“Now is not the time to be adding to our household expenses,” Western Canadian Wheat Growers President Gunter Jochum said in a statement.