By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on November 12, 2020.
CHAIRMAN, ECONOMIC EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
Is Alberta a producer of wealth or a consumer of wealth? Alberta’s energy industry, Alberta’s economy, and Albertans, are definitely producers of wealth. Alberta has produced and sent $630 billion net tax dollars to Eastern Canada over the past 30 years.
Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, spoke at our recent Freedomtalk.ca “Firewall PLUS: Making it Happen” conference. Among other things, he told us that there is a growing divide in the free world between “producers of wealth” and “consumers of wealth.” The simplest way of knowing which side a person, a business or a government is on is whether they support the wealth redistributing Paris Agreement (consumer of wealth), or whether they do not (producer of wealth).
As we all should know, one of President Donald Trump’s first actions as president was to give notice that he was committed to America being a Producer of Wealth and that America would consequently be withdrawing its support from the Paris Agreement.
On our side of the border Erin O’Toole, shortly after winning the federal Conservative leadership race, said that a future Conservative government would commit to meeting Canada’s targets for greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement.
Earlier this month Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said at the UCP AGM that resource project financing depends on climate progress, i.e.: supporting the Paris Agreement.
Premier Kenney very cleverly campaigned on ending the carbon tax, Bill One, and to his credit, he kept his promise on that. However, Alberta still has a carbon tax on our energy industry’s “largest producers of wealth.” The Paris Agreement signatories and I suppose Premier Kenney would call that tax “progress on climate.”
Tech Frontier spent around $1 billion trying to get approval for their $25-billion oilsands project. Northern Gateway, Energy East and Trans Mountain had also spent in the neighbourhood of $1 billion each trying to get their respective multi-billion-dollar projects approved before they were denied or withdrawn. These projects were all privately funded but “failed” to garner final approval because they had not made “sufficient progress on climate.”
In total, several hundred billion dollars of investment capital has left Alberta over the past decade. In all of those years, our provincial government and our federal government supported “progress on climate.” In four of those years, our Alberta provincial government was led by the NDP’s Rachel Notley, who was “irrationally committed” to climate progress. Also, for the past five years, our federal government has been and still is the most committed to “progress on climate” of any country in the free world. The flight of capital from Alberta’s energy industries continues to this date.
If progress on climate led to investment, voting CPC or UCP or even NDP and Liberal would have accomplished that. Sadly, and irrefutably, it did not and will not.
When Erin O’Toole, who campaigned for many months without mentioning Paris, now commits to meeting our Paris targets, he may or may not be trying to make “progress on climate.” However, he is undoubtedly, albeit dishonestly, trying to garner voter support in Eastern Canada by promising to once again “sell-out/sacrifice” Alberta’s energy industry/economy to hopefully win in the East. To quote and to emulate Pierre Trudeau: “Screw the West. We will win the rest.”
Alberta’s energy industry is one of, or at least was one of, the economic miracles of the free world and had made Alberta what Peter Zeihan called an “accidental superpower” following the discovery of Leduc Number One in 1947.
Albertans must not be fooled again.
There are only two options to attract sufficient investment capital to our fossil-fuel sectors to restart our energy industry’s engines and Make Alberta Great Again: get Canada out of the Paris Agreement or get Alberta out of Canada. Albertans should demand that their leaders pick one and then insist that they “make it happen.”
Danny Hozack is chairman of the Economic Education Association and lives in the Lloydminster area.