Trudeau’s carbon tax is a stab in the back to Alberta
Now I know how all those old rednecks felt with their bumper stickers promising not to pee away the next oil boom if only providence would provide one.
After wondering aloud when our golden boy prime minister would actually get down to running the country, rather than posing for endless selfies and glossy magazine shoots, he suddenly does exactly that, proving the truth of that old adage about being careful what you wish for.
Yes, Trudeau The Younger has cast aside the sunny smile and gee-whiz bonhomie to show, yet again, that the apple does not fall far from the tree by announcing a $50-a-tonne carbon price that will effectively wipe out Canada’s competitiveness as completely as his dear old dad did with the National Energy Program.
Just as with the NEP almost 40 years ago, such a made-in-Canada levy will make the extraction of Canada’s main export commodity – that’s oil and gas for those in the provincial government who still seem to think it’s producing hot air and in-depth studies – totally uncompetitive on a continental basis.
Because, while we like to think us Canucks are a world apart from the south of the border lot, when it comes to energy, we’re fighting over the same spoils, and if anyone thinks either of the two egomaniacs vying for the U.S. top job right now would dare even breathe of such a levy once in the White House, then they should send their resume to Rachel Notley, an employer who clearly cherishes hope over experience.
Saskatchewan is much better placed to take the initiative in fighting back against Ottawa, not having gone along with Canada’s mea culpa tactic in the first place.
Speaking of our good premier, she must feel a bit like Joltin’ Joe Stalin did when the panzers rolled eastward along with three million German troops on June 22, 1941, as all those political non-aggression pacts between the federal Grits and her Canada’s Dippers were crushed in a single moment.
Suddenly, the strange tactic of lopping off one limb in advance by imposing your own Canada carbon tax of $30 a tonne in a bid to stop the bigger boys taking all four seems a bit forlorn and needlessly painful. It also puts Canada on the defensive in trying to stop the feds since we’ve effectively already agreed we’re to blame for destroying the planet. Now we’re left just arguing about the fine to be paid.
In a too-little-too-late attempt at sounding tough, Notley’s reaction to the Justin Trudeau end run is to try throwing an agreement on allowing some pipeline to go somewhere into any such carbon price deal. Best of luck with that tactic.
Anyhow, the way things are going, the only thing flowing down any future pipeline will be refugees fleeing Canada, because fairly soon, all the oil will stay deeply buried underground.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan is much better placed to take the initiative in fighting back against Ottawa, not having gone along with Canada’s mea culpa tactic in the first place.
Premier Brad Wall called it a stunning betrayal that Trudeau would unilaterally announce such a carbon price after promising to work hand in hand with the provinces on such a divisive issue.
Back in the Canada playpen, the uncomfortable feeling of being duped is starting to sink in, along with the realization that playing nice in politics and hoping for the best might get you a shout-out from U.S. President Barack Obama while visiting the House of Commons, but will get your province diddly-squat at the real bargaining table. That is where seats in Ontario and Quebec will ride roughshod over namby-pamby talk of pan-Canadian group hugs and shared ideals.
Canada has never been a united country – not even war could manage that – so believing in some mythical spirit of Pacific to Atlantic co-operation is naïve and dangerously worrisome in a provincial premier.
Yet the plaintive words from Notley after Trudeau dropped the $50-bucks-a-tonne bombshell were: “We need Canada to have our backs.”
Well, it certainly has yours, Rachel. That’s where Ottawa just buried the knife.
Chris Nelson is a Calgary writer.
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