UCP leader's carbon tax referendum bill defeated in legislature

A bill introduced by United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney that would have required the Alberta government to put future carbon tax increases to a referendum was defeated in the legislature Monday.

Bill 202 would have made it impossible for current or future provincial governments to hike Alberta's carbon tax above $30 a tonne without the approval of a majority of Albertans.

The bill was defeated 38-20 on second reading by NDP MLAs, Alberta Party MLAs Rick Fraser and Greg Clark, and Liberal MLA David Swann. Private member's bills from opposition MLAs are rarely passed.

Alberta's carbon tax came into effect Jan. 1, 2017, with carbon priced at $20 per tonne of emissions.

This January, it increased to $30 per tonne. The carbon tax on a litre of gasoline is now 6.73 cents per litre, and 8.03 cents per litre on diesel fuel.

The federal government is requiring all provinces to raise the price of carbon to $40 a tonne by 2021 and $50 a tonne by 2022. Premier Rachel Notley is making the start of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion a condition for Alberta to follow suit.

Kenney has vowed that a repeal of Alberta's carbon tax would be his first action as premier if the UCP wins the 2019 election.