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Alberta premier urges Trudeau to heed growing concerns from premiers on carbon levy

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to heed the growing calls from premiers to dump the planned hike to the consumer carbon charge on April 1.

The comments came in introductory remarks as the two leaders met in Calgary on Wednesday morning in their first face-to-face meeting since last summer.

As the two smiled and shook hands for the cameras, Smith thanked Trudeau’s government for pushing through the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast.

But she said they still have areas of contention.

“An area where we don’t quite see eye-to-eye [is] the carbon tax,” said Smith.

“Seven premiers have suggested that we need a pause on April 1, so I’m very hopeful that we can maybe come to some solution on that [and] address issues of affordability.”

Trudeau responded by reminding Canadians that as the levy rises, so do rebates.

“As of the beginning of April, the average family of four in Alberta will get $1,800 a year with the Canada Carbon Rebate,” he said.

“That’s money in people’s pockets even as we fight climate change.”

Trudeau added work is getting done on affordability, such as through the federal-provincial deals on child-care subsidies and pharmacare.

The federal carbon price is set to rise by $15 a tonne to $80 next month.

Some premiers have said this is concerning, given Canadians are already dealing with ever-rising costs for day-to-day living.

Smith requested meeting

Smith said at a news conference at the Alberta Legislature on Wednesday that she requested the meeting on Tuesday when she heard the prime minister was coming to Calgary.

She said she told Trudeau that Alberta has an urgent opportunity to export ammonia to Japan, with a request for proposals coming soon for a 20-year supply.

“It would be nice to have the federal government weigh in and offer some support for that,” she said.

A woman with brown hair stands at a podium.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks during a news conference at the Alberta Legislature about her meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Emmanuel Prince-Thauvette/Radio-Canada)

During their conversation, Smith said, Trudeau brought up the UCP government’s planned policy changes affecting transgender and non-binary Albertans. 

“We’re looking into taking guidance from the medical profession internationally and I hope that we can find some common ground,” she said at the news conference.

Trudeau told reporters in Calgary on Wednesday morning that he was pleased to talk with Smith about addressing challenges with child care, pharmacare, clean electricity, investing in renewables and partnering on big projects.

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