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Commentary: Notley and Her Carbon Tax Stickhandling – Rick Bell: No Answers for Albertans


Published: January 11, 2019

Just can’t let Notley off the hook.

Yes, while the premier wouldn’t give your humble servant a year-end interview, she did speak to other newshounds.

And, credit where credit is due, an excellent question came from CBC Calgary.

Shouldn’t have been a puzzler for the premier.

What decline has there been in fuel consumption in Alberta since Notley hit us with a carbon tax?

You know, the carbon tax she didn’t tell us about in the last election.

We pay a carbon tax at the pump and we’ve heard from the premier about us changing our vehicle or taking a bus or walking if we want to reduce the carbon tax we pay.

One reason for the Notley carbon tax was to reduce emissions from cars and trucks. It was about being kinder to Mother Earth.

Then again, another reason was to get a pipeline to the coast — and we’re still waiting.

Anyway, Notley says she doesn’t have the answer but it’s related to economic activity.

Not good enough.

The question again. Does Notley know if Alberta has seen a decrease in vehicle emissions since the tax?

Editors and readers, this is her answer. I haven’t written it incorrectly. It is what it is.

“I honestly can’t tell you right now because I wasn’t prepped for that and I haven’t got the, the … ”

The premier continues.

“Again because we know generally speaking as you know with the Nobel Prize-winning economists who have said pricing carbon is, in fact, the most effective way to reduce emissions.”

Wasn’t prepped for that? Huh. This is the NDP’s baby. Did the carbon tax cut vehicle emissions in Alberta or not?

Notley goes on with her stickhandling but it’s all thumbs.

She goes on about more renewable energy and creating 1,000 jobs.

The question again. The carbon tax is supposed to change behaviour.

Wouldn’t Notley have the info so she could explain to Albertans how her beloved carbon tax is working and by how much?

Isn’t the premier getting those numbers from her deep thinkers?

Once again, Notley talks about the economy picking up and how that’s a factor.

The premier also says the carbon tax “at this point, as a portion of the fuel cost, is still very, very small.”

Sure sounds like vehicle emissions aren’t going down. If they were, Notley would be crowing about it.

Alas, more evidence the carbon tax is just another tax, another cash grab.

As for the carbon tax being small, the Ottawa tall foreheads have told Team Trudeau the carbon tax would have to go up ten times from what it is now in Alberta by 2050 to meet so-called climate targets.

Ten times. Yikes!

You would think if the carbon tax was supposed to be about lowering emissions from cars and trucks someone would be measuring it, as they do in B.C., and the premier would know about it.

Notley blathers on about natural gas and energy efficiency and coal reduction and money for the LRT.

She’s really excited. Glad someone is.

Listening to the premier is like watching penalty killing in hockey. The clock ticks and it’s mission accomplished if time runs out and you’re not scored on.

It would make quite the headline if vehicle emissions were actually going up while Albertans were forking out at the pump to pay for the carbon tax.

Yet another nail in the carbon tax coffin.

To get the answer, your scribbler phones the new Alberta government media line, advertised as making communication with the press better.

When the government says they’re making things better, beware.

Anyway, didn’t get a response before the paper shufflers hightailed it home.

No one answered at the office of Shannon Phillips, Notley’s Minister of Mother Earth.

She was probably busy.

As you know, the Notley NDP have plans for the Bighorn backcountry and Phillips nixed face-to-face huddles with the locals who have a lot to say and the right to say it.

Phillips said she got advice from the Mounties about cancelling the open houses because of threats of argy-bargy. It wasn’t true.

She also said the RCMP opened investigations into alleged nastiness. They didn’t.

The United Conservatives want Phillips punted.

On Thursday, Notley backs Phillips with words of the highest praise.

The only ones who can overrule the premier are the people of Alberta in the upcoming election.

Hope Notley can find the carbon tax numbers before then.

rbell@postmedia.com



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