Premiers Rachel Notley (Alberta)

UPDATE: B.C. says other provinces must ‘catch up’ on carbon price (with VIDEO)

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  • Oct. 3, 2016 6:00 p.m.

Provincial environment ministers meeting in Quebec were taken by surprise Monday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a mandatory carbon price across Canada starting in 2018.

Trudeau announced the policy in the House of Commons Monday as MPs began debate on ratifying the latest international climate change agreement signed in Paris last year.

B.C.’s $30-a-tonne carbon tax puts it three years ahead of Trudeau’s requirement that every province have a $10-a-tonne price on greenhouse gas emissions by 2018, rising by $10 a year to $50 in 2022.

With Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia opposed to a national carbon price and Alberta making its own demands, Trudeau vowed to force the issue.

“If neither price nor cap and trade is in place by 2018, the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction,” Trudeau said.

In a statement issued from meetings in Montreal, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said the federal policy would mean other provinces will “catch up” with B.C.

“We also need to make sure we remain competitive for job-creating industries,” Polak said. “There is no point bleeding jobs to a place with no carbon price.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued a statement Monday, demanding the Trudeau government approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to deliver more oil to its Burnaby marine terminal, or the Energy East pipeline proposal to the East Coast.

“Alberta will not be supporting this proposal absent serious concurrent progress on energy infrastructure, to ensure we have the economic means to fund these policies,” Notley said. “What we are asking for now is that our landlock be broken in one direction or the other, so that we can get back on our feet.”

Premier Christy Clark has said B.C.’s $30-a-tonne carbon tax will remain frozen until 2018, and other provinces need to catch up before B.C. can impose further measures without creating an economic disadvantage with its neighbours.

Trudeau’s pledge at the Paris climate summit was to uphold the previous Stephen Harper government target of a 30 per cent cut in Canada’s emissions by 2030.

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