Federal carbon plan will struggle without support from provinces: Notley

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters at the McDougall Centre in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government may not have the legal power to stop Ottawa from imposing its climate plan, but it's warning the Trudeau government against pressing ahead without having the provinces on side.

"The federal government will struggle if they don't have a willing partner in the provinces," Notley told reporters Tuesday in Calgary.

"We're happy to be that willing partner if they do what Albertans have done for Canada for many, many years, which is do their fair share."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that provinces must either put a price on carbon that meets or exceeds a national minimum or put a cap-and-trade system in place.

The federal plan calls for a $10-per-tonne floor price starting in 2018 that would eventually rise to $50 a tonne in 2022 — two-thirds higher than what Alberta's price will be in 2018.

Notley has said she supports the idea of a common national carbon price in principle, but not without meaningful progress on building new market-opening infrastructure.

"At the end of the day, they would much prefer to adopt a more refined, collaborative, strategic approach that understands the realities of each part of the country. And I expect that that's where they'd like to land," she said.

"And what we're saying is we're prepared to work on facilitating that landing, but only if Canada has Albertans' backs and allows Alberta to do what it's done for so long, which is build Alberta's economy and Canada's economy."

The Alberta government can absorb a higher carbon price than the $30 a tonne it is planning to have in place in 2018, she said, provided oil producers can sell more of their product in international markets.

Other provinces have pushed back harder against the plan than Alberta.

Environment ministers from Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador walked out of climate meetings in Montreal on Monday after Trudeau announced the plan.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall called the federal climate announcement a betrayal and said he was stunned at the level of disrespect.

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