By Letter to the Editor on March 9, 2018.
In his February MLA Report, Cypress-Medicine Hat’s Drew Barnes states Alberta’s carbon tax is “job-killing” and is “on the backs of everyday Albertans.” He and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney parrot the “job-killing” description when they speak of this tax because attitudinally and terminologically they are still stuck in Harper-think and Harper-speak. The former PM often used “job-killing” whe he spoke of a carbon tax and, for someone with a master’s degree in economic, the issue was simplistic and shallow. So is the analysis of the issue by Barnes and Kenney.
A recent example of the inaccuracy of Barnes’ statement can be found on the front page of the Jan. 6 edition Medicine Hat News. In that paper there was an article that said job creation in Canada in 2017 was at a pace not seen since 2002 annd that in December 2017 Alberta gained 26,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9 per cent. The Alberta carbon tax came into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Other provinces have carbon taxes. The federal government has imposed carbon taxes on provinces which don’t institute their own, yet the Canadian job creation rate has increased to its highest level in 15 years.
Alberta’s carbon tax revenue is invested, at about $1 billion per year in renewable energy sources, in “green” infrastructure and energy efficiency programs. Businesses undertaking these initiatives need employees, something Barnes and Kenney don’t acknowledge. Why? Kenney promises to scrap the carbon tax. Presumably none of the investments noted above mean anything to him. Welcome to Jason Kenney’s Alberta. Please set your clocks for 1950.
To offset the impact of the carbon tax on low- and middle-income earners the province has sent rebate cheques. Since those earnrs have the carbon tax rebated to them, I conclude, based on Barnes’ assertion the carbon tax is on the backs of everyday Albertans, that to him “everyday Albertans” are high-income earners and they ought not to have to pay the tax. Why?
A recent economic forecast by ATB predicts growth of between two and three per cent for this year and next. I assume they took the carbon tax into account. Can jobs be “killed” in an expanding economy? B.C. has had a carbon tax since 2008 and has had the fastest growing provincial economy for years.
Lastly, I’d like Barnes and Kenney too explain why international energy corporations like Shell, Cenovus, Suncor, TransCanada and Enbridge are all members of the Carbon pricing Leadership Coalition, an international group of about 1,000 businesses that believe a tax on carbon will cut greenhouse gas emissions and will, in their words, “maintain competitiveness.” Businesses don’t let employees go when they are competitive.
Barnes and Kenney must do a lot more than repeat Harperian non-thought if they want to be believable.
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