Tone deaf carbon tax defence out of touch with everyday Albertans

It was disappointing, but not unexpected, to read NDP Environment Minister Shannon Phillips’s brazen defence of the NDP’s carbon tax in these pages this past Saturday (“On climate change, Albertans expect their leaders to lead”, June 23, 2018).

The NDP’s carbon tax was always just a government cash grab — one that comes with considerable expense to Albertans.

While the NDP minister talks about “the interests of everyday Alberta families” in her column, the reality is that the “the interests of everyday Alberta families” are a lot more expensive with the carbon tax.

From heightened costs for schools to keep the lights on, to Albertans facing an added cost at the pumps on top of an already high fuel cost just for the crime of getting to work or driving for groceries, the carbon tax affects everybody in Alberta.

Ms. Phillips claimed that the carbon tax is needed “to secure future growth and market access through new pipelines.”

Since the NDP sprung their surprise carbon tax on Albertans, not one pipeline opponent has moved from “No” to “Yes.”

Here’s what has happened: the federal Liberal government stopped the Northern Gateway pipeline.

They tampered with the regulatory process and stopped the Energy East pipeline.

The previous U.S. administration halted the Keystone XL pipeline.

And, of course, British Columbia’s NDP government has been fighting tooth and nail to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, a much-needed, job-creating project.

Meanwhile, extreme activist groups remain determined to illegally obstruct the Trans Mountain expansion project.

None of these groups or governments received the memo about the carbon tax and social licence, apparently.

These are the NDP’s fellow travellers obstructing the pipeline: including some of those organizing illegal protests, Tzeporah Berman and Karen Mahon, who Alberta’s NDP government actually named to their oilsands advisory group; or Greenpeace ringleader Mike Hudema, with whom Minister Phillips collaborated on a how-to book on stopping resource projects.

In her column, the NDP minister did find room to attribute Calgary’s Green Line LRT to the carbon tax.

She fails to mention that federal funding for the Green Line LRT came under the former federal Conservative government, announced by Jason Kenney in mid-2015, and there was no condition of a carbon tax.

The NDP’s carbon tax, from the start, has been a false bag of goods: they never campaigned on it, they just imposed it right after taking office.

In 2015, the premier claimed that revenue collected through the carbon tax would never go to pad the government’s deficit-heavy budgets, but that’s exactly where it’s going.

As time passes, the only defence the NDP seems to have for their carbon tax cash grab is to try and guilt Albertans into supporting it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I know that Albertans are smarter than that, and I know they do not believe for a minute that the only way to address climate change is through a carbon tax.

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