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Liberals considering raising carbon tax as they slash consumer rebates

The Liberals have said they’re reviewing whether to hike the carbon tax beyond the $50 a tonne cap.

The Liberal government has cut the amount of rebates Canadians are able to collect in four provinces that are pushing back against the federal carbon tax.

The majority of the provinces affected by the rebate reduction are in the west. 

The cuts will mean that Canadians in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will collect less money to offset the costs associated with the federally-imposed carbon tax.

Canadians are expected to pay $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in 2020; the tax is rising by $10 per tonne until 2022. Though less than two months after the election, the Liberals have said they’re reviewing whether to hike the carbon tax beyond the $50 a tonne cap.  

The decision to review the cap comes after a report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer which pointed out the current tax rate would have to be hiked up to $102 a tonne by 2030 to hit the government’s Paris targets. 

The Alberta government is fighting the federal government at the Court of Appeal over the constitutionality of the carbon tax.

According to a lawyer representing Alberta, the federal government is interfering in the division of powers laid out in the Canadian Constitution by imposing a federal carbon tax on the province. 

“Does this mean any time there is some national, pressing concern identified by the federal government that they’re able to impose national standards on the provinces on matters that clearly come within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces?” asked lawyer Peter Gall. 

The governments of Saskatchewan and Ontario are intervening on behalf of Alberta. They have also launched their own court challenges, which were unsuccessful but have been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

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