Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In response to a question on how Albertans should cope with higher fuel costs, Notley informed Albertans that, “It’s not just a question of having a more fuel-efficient vehicle; it could sometimes be a question of taking a bus, walking — you know, those kinds of things.”

Milke: Rachel Notley’s carbon tax let-them-eat-cake moment

Milke: Rachel Notley’s carbon tax let-them-eat-cake moment
CALGARY, AB.; OCTOBER 23, 2014 -- Calgary Herald staff mugshot of freelancer Mark Milke. (Ted Rhodes/Calgary Herald). For Postmedia story by .
A chronic problem in politics is the presence of ideologues who take otherwise good ideas too far, or dream up policy ideas disconnected from reality.
The latest example: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who in a Wednesday press conference defended her government’s decision to enact a higher carbon tax on everything in 2017.
In response to a question on how Albertans should cope with higher fuel costs, Notley informed Albertans that, “It’s not just a question of having a more fuel-efficient vehicle; it could sometimes be a question of taking a bus, walking — you know, those kinds of things.”
Unwittingly, the premier parroted the 18th century French queen,Marie Antoinette,who in response to hunger in Paris and a lack of bread for the poor, remarked they could always eat cake.
Antoinette lectures aside though, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with a suggestion we all get more exercise. I prefer to trek to downtown Calgary because it takes me only 40 minutes on foot.
The problem with the premier’s response was that it ignores how most people cannot walk or take transit for much of what they do. They live, work and play in diverse spots where hoofing it is often impractical, or ill-advised. (Don’t advise seniors to traipse around town in -30 C.) Transit options are often non-existent, such as in rural areas, for commercial loads or 5 a.m. trips to hockey practice with kids and their equipment.
The core issue is how Notley’s statement revealed an ideology severed from the practical world.
Ideologies are a set of ideas that frame a person’s view on certain matters, usually policy and politics. But to be of any benefit, the ideology should be cemented to what is workable on the ground.
In contrast, Notley’s ideology is this: We in Canada must all kill cheap coal power tomorrow and tax carbon heavily, even while China does neither and builds new coal-powered plants. That ignores what is possible in a world with limited choices.
In general, there is nothing wrong with desiring the use of less carbon-based fuels and more renewables.Whale oilwas once used in lamps. It was replaced by kerosene, which later gave way to electric power. But those developments were driven by technology and affordability, not political diktats which ignore capabilities and costs, which then hurt real people.    
Example: We know how Alberta’s new carbon tax and associated policies will play out, given the policies mostly replicate Ontario’s disastrous approach.
There, killing coal early, subsiding renewable energy, and guaranteeing payments to power producers sent utility bills soaring for Ontarians and added to the debt of the provincially owned utility. The government actions sent a chunk of the population into energy poverty. The policies made Ontario uncompetitive for investment and jobs.
This matters on the ground. As retired banker and columnistParker Gallantlately noted, theOntario Association of Food Banksrecently chronicled rising electricity rates in that province since 2006: Up 3.5 times inflation for peak hours, and at a rate of eight times inflation for off-peak hours.
The Notley government plans to cap electricity price increases and subsidize some Albertans to mitigate the coming carbon tax hit. But governments cannot subsidize everyone, or control prices forever without an investment collapse. That’s why the premier will subsidize utilities with our tax dollars.
But the plan to borrow from future taxpayers to bail out current poor policies merely highlights her unsustainable and anti-reality ideas. None of it is a long-term remedy for the government’s short-term, self-created ideological problem.
Besides, the carbon tax hit will cost large and small businesses more; they will pass the costs down to consumers, already grappling with a shrunken economy.
Higher costs billed to an economy with less cash sluicing around always equals higher unemployment. That is the other reality the regrettably ideological premier is missing.
Mark Milke is a Calgary author.

Julie Ali ·
The Carbon tax seems to be the way that the NDPs got the pipelines approved by the Trudeau Team. It's a dumb tax. My understanding of it is that we pay more for the use of our car. Then the money that the GOA takes in is returned to some of us. So that means we pay for another layer of civil servants to return cash to folks.

Then some of this cash is for pet projects of the NDP. They do the P3 subsidy to the wind farm business and this seems to be money down the drain to me.

Then they will put some of the money towards subsidizing the increased electricity costs from the early closure of the power companies who used coal. It's pretty bizarre to me that we have to pay for the early closure of these power plants as well as increased electricity costs.

The rest of the money will no doubt be wasted in other ways and we will end up with the greenwashing reputation that will set the bitumen free on the world stage so that we are no longer considered dirty oil. Or so the story goes.
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Brenda Patterson
Don't know it till you live here
LikeReply4 hrs
Brian Edgington
...the spoiled brats in alberta can't seem to get their tiny, greedy brains around the fact that they'll just have to live with less ... trying to have it all just won't work out anymore...
LikeReply12 hrs
Julie Ali ·
I don't think most families in Alberta are spoiled brats. Certainly we have an elite in the GOA and ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions) who are experiencing high flying lifestyles due to indulgences of the PC error that is being continued by the NDPCs we hired.
Most families are doing the best they can with the money they have.
We aren't greedy..
We are nice people.

We voted out the greedy people in the last provincial election and we have the same sort of people in government yet again. So what are the citizens supposed to do when the GOA is simply a fixed group of people and institutions? I guess we have to be nice and vote out the NDPCs (the new PCs) and try again.

In my opinion, we are pretty well stuck with DeMockracy no matter where we live in Canada because political parties are all the same and use us to get to power where they do whatever they want to do.
There is no representation of value. But there you go.

Just wanted to say hi from Edmonton, Alberta.
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