November 27th, 2020

Wealth creator vs. wealth consumer


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on November 12, 2020.

Danny Hozack

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of $1 billion each trying to get their respective multi-billion-dollar projects approved before they were denied or withdrawn.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.

Share this story:

17
Subscribe
Notify of
8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Southern Albertan

The two options suggested in the last paragraph here are unlikely to happen. In reality, globally, the $trillion dollar money trail is proving to be in renewable tech. So Alberta is in desperate need of diversity and exploring other avenues of revenue. Alberta has massive renewable resources, i.e.wind, geothermal, and particularly, solar. The advances in these resources is impressive. The oil and gas industry will not disappear overnight but realistically, the boom years will never be back.
And again, the $630 billion sent to the ‘east’ mentioned above, is based on individual personal income with regard to equalization. Because individual personal income has been very high, and for many, still is, it still means that $billions are being sent out ‘east.’ The powers-that-be in Alberta know, and they have been told, that if ‘Alberta’ wishes to send less in equalization, we need to raise our provincial taxes to more fair levels. The recent decrease in corporate tax rate to 8% is not helpful. Also, in the federal Harper/Kenney years, they did not change the equalization formula.
Again, our ultra right wing Saskatchewan government neighbours just increased their PST from 5% to 6%. If Alberta had a 6% PST, it would bring in about $11 billion/year creating exquisite revenue and facilitate keeping our own money for use within the province, while creating a scenario of paying less in equalization.

jonbacc

That makes the most sense but I doubt Kenney will ever increase taxes.

I wonder if simply reversing the two taxes in Alberta (0% income tax, 10% PST) would lead to more jobs and also reduce the number of “freeloaders”?

Fescue

By freeloaders, do you mean the idle elite?

Maybe the best way to create jobs is by providing stability and a living wage, as opposed to crass exploitation in the precarious gig economy.

Resolute

A very courageous letter Danny! You know that espousing common sense, relating actual facts, and saying it like it is, nowadays invites personal attack and charges of racism. You have my respect for your courage.
As you note and we all know – Trudy is playing off Alberta & Sakatchewan against the eastern vote while blaming conservatives for doing what he did. Modern lefty politics that seems to work in getting destructive politicians elected – look at the obviously incapable US presidential slate on the cusp of being proclaimed after they supported, if not caused, the partial destruction of many large US cities. You could blame Trump -worked for them!

Fescue

‘Economic Education Association’! I’m tickled by that name. They should collaborate with our $30 million/year Ministry of Right Thinking About Oil

jonbacc

“”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).“”

The writer is incorrect on this argument. I produce wealth for myself yet I’m not personally against the Paris Agreement.

Fescue

You’re right, jonbacc. This is just empty rhetoric: that the environment and economy are at odds. They view the environment as a resource that can be mercilessly exploited without consequences.

And what is a ‘producer of wealth’? Land and human labour. Not a corporation, not a hedges fund, not social media …

gs172

Somebody should tell Danny that Alberta is not just oil & gas. Yes it’s a big part of our economy but its not what defines myself as an Albertan. It’s not as black & white as Danny portrays. I want oil and gas to succeed but not to the detriment to the people of Alberta.
As far as the Paris agreement is concerned I’m sure that Danny has heard there’s going to be a change in the train wreck of the current administration south of us. Does he want Canada to be the only developed country not to be a signatory to it? Do I agree with it 100%, hell no. But we can’t keep relying on oil to the extent we do to keep Alberta above water. We have the lowest taxes provincially on them now, how low can we go before we’re paying them to operate?



8
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x