News & Issues

Clark supports principle of a carbon tax, but not ND carbon tax

Posted on June 07, 2016 by Meagan Parisian

EDMONTON, AB - June 7, 2016 - Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark has released the following statement after significant debate on Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Plan.

“The Alberta Party supports a price on carbon as part of a responsible environmental and innovation policy,” said Clark. “However, I couldn't support the NDs version of a carbon tax.”

Clark has deep concerns with the lack of revenue neutrality in the NDP plan, and the complete lack of details about how they plan to spend the billions generated by the tax.  

“The principle of a carbon tax, done properly, makes a lot of sense,” argued Clark. “Increasing the price of something we don't want (carbon emissions) changes behaviour and creates a business environment where Alberta companies can innovate.

“If there's one thing Albertans are extremely good at, it's innovation. Our engineers, scientists, academics and finance people can compete with anyone in the world. Match those skills with the strong Alberta entrepreneurial spirit and we will be world leaders in carbon reduction technology. 

“Alberta can and should help the world deal with carbon emissions and climate change. Success means we can continue to support our oil and gas sector because the world will want to do business with Alberta, while at the same time building Alberta companies and Alberta technology that we can sell to the rest of the world and help diversify our economy.

“Unfortunately, the NDP carbon tax falls short. The fact two thirds of Albertans will receive a rebate means there is less incentive to change behaviour or implement carbon reduction technologies. I know my economist friends will tell me that rebates and behaviour change from things like a carbon tax are two separate issues, but I have a hard time believing that Albertans who don't see a change in their bank balances will significantly change their consumption patterns.

There were several areas in which Clark argued the ND government fell short when creating their Climate Change plan:

Revenue Neutrality

“My solution is to rebate only the lowest-income Albertans, ensuring we help those who truly need help,” said Clark. “If carbon tax rebates were applied only to the lowest 25% of income earners, the remainder of carbon tax revenues could be used to lower personal and corporate income taxes. This would allow Albertans to keep more of their hard-earned money and create a more attractive investment climate for Alberta business. 

“Making the carbon tax revenue neutral has other economic benefits. University of Calgary professor Kenneth J. McKenzie wrote recently that every additional dollar of personal income tax raised costs the economy $1.71, and ever additional dollar of corporate tax costs $3.79. Using carbon tax revenue to lower these taxes will have benefits beyond the environmental benefits and beyond broad-based rebates. 

Too Many Questions 

Clark was left with too many questions, and not enough answers as Bill 20 contained little to no new details regarding the carbon tax.

“The NDP carbon tax is badly lacking details. Over the past two weeks we've been debating Bill 20 - Climate Leadership Implementation Act, which simply puts the plans announced in the April budget into law. It was a massive disappointment to not see any further details about the $3.4 billion dollars allocated over the next five years for "other initiatives", which happens to be exactly the same amount allocated to build healthcare facilities. 

“We also have no information about what the government hopes to achieve through Energy Efficiency Alberta, which will spend $645 million over five years. What will Albertans get for this investment? Will we see home energy efficiency rebates? Low-emission vehicle rebates? Support for solar panels on our houses? Something else? 

“How does the government plan to replace coal-fired power with 30% renewable energy? I support the phase-out of coal-fired power but it could be a challenge to maintain a stable supply of electricity at a reasonable cost to Albertans without the right plan. It's unclear when we will see such a plan, and how much of the money allocated to Energy Efficiency Alberta or to "other initiatives" will be used to support the transition. 

“It's difficult to support a bill without answers to these questions and many more.” 


Clark put forward two amendments to Bill 20 during Committee of the Whole.

“I worked hard with the other opposition parties to attempt to amend the carbon tax bill to make it better. I support a carbon tax in principle but it needs to be structured appropriately to ensure it does more good than harm.” 

Clark proposed an amendment to make the bill revenue neutral over time, but it was defeated by the NDP.

Clark then proposed a second amendment to exempt companies that are carbon negative (for example, tree seedling companies whose products sequester more carbon than they use), but it was defeated by the NDP. 

“I supported several opposition amendments to try to make the bill better, including a plan to review the bill one year after it's implementation to determine if the carbon tax is working as the government had hoped,” said Clark. “That amendment and every other opposition amendment (with the exception of a minor technical change) were defeated by the NDP majority.”

“I will continue to push for answers to my questions, and I will continue to advocate for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Done properly a carbon tax can be an important tool to stimulate investment, diversify our economy and enable the continued success of Alberta's energy industry.

“Unfortunately, this carbon tax misses the mark.”

– 30 –

For an interview please contact:

Natasha Soles

Communications Coordinator

Alberta Party Caucus

(780) 722-4733

Showing 11 reactions

  • commented 2017-10-02 18:07:59 -0600
    your response was to tax Albertans under some made up reason to carbon tax your plan is to tax an over taxed populace to support an overpaid overpopulated public service sector that’s the number 1 reason that’s going to kill democracy
  • commented 2017-10-02 03:09:11 -0600
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  • commented 2016-12-28 20:15:07 -0700
    greg clark with this comment has made himself a non contender to Albertans so he may as well pack his bags and go elswere
  • commented 2016-12-28 20:01:47 -0700
    the alberta party has just lost another Albertan even indicating taxing Albertans using made up climate change to give government an excuse to rob Albertans
  • commented 2016-11-12 17:31:42 -0700
    It would appear that way to someone who is scientifically illiterate.
  • commented 2016-11-12 17:28:42 -0700
    the alberta party that supports a carbon tax is a party looking to rob albertans
  • commented 2016-11-12 17:26:25 -0700
    What “science” has shown this? Could you direct me to where you read this?

    The fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas has zero to do with a hole in the ozone layer.
  • commented 2016-11-12 17:16:58 -0700
    Eric actual science has shown thiers no longer a hole in the ozone layer which started this climate change debauchery that nut jobs and politicians have used to rob everyone by the billions their livelihood depends on it their using city pollution to collaborate their made up theories more and more people are becoming aware because of facts not nut jobs who are misguided
  • commented 2016-11-11 23:29:52 -0700
    Philip Skidmor where so you get your science news? The Rebel? Maybe try a different source than the one you’re using.
  • commented 2016-10-21 03:09:26 -0600
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  • commented 2016-09-06 22:10:57 -0600
    any party that supports a carbon tax are crooks looking to rob people science no longer supports climate change because all of thier predictions was just that predictions thats not happening the alberta party is becoming apparent as a party who will rob the people first then rob them some more useing stupid ndp way of governance the people of alberta are suffering greatly under ndp rule and the alberta party adopting anything ndp that just robs the people is very stupid the alberta partys greed is showing itself

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