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    MLA report July 12

    Hello Chestermere! Did you hear that…..yahoo!  It is Stampede time, and we are in full swing.  I hope you get a chance to get down to the grounds this year and enjoy some of the festivities.

    Did you also hear, Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario is announcing that he will be ending Ontario’s “cap and trade” emissions pricing “program” which was done in conjunction with Quebec and California.  What this is effectively is a trading program of emission allowances.  So what does that mean?  The Government sets a “cap” on the total amount of emissions all industries are allowed to emit. Within that “cap” each industry can buy more permits at auction or sell ones they don’t need.  If you are a company you are given a number for your permitted emissions.  If you want/need to emit more, you can buy credits from other companies that have emitted less.  This is supposed to create a market by incentivizing companies to cut their emissions, and then sell their credits to larger emitters and make money off of that, or that a company can save money by not needing to buy more permits. 

    The theory is that people will use less to pay less.  Here are some interesting facts.  Lets say you as a government decided to go with Cap and Trade.  Certain companies are given free allowances or exempted because otherwise they would be less competitive with other jurisdictions that don’t have caps. Think aluminum and cement plants in Quebec. When the system is set up business can manipulate the system by reporting more emissions than they actually emit.  They do this so that it looks like they have become more efficient, they do not achieve real reductions, and can do business as usual.  Honest businesses who wish to expand are forced to buy more permits from those who have surplus credits. This very complicated system is wide open to manipulation as has been proved in Europe where it has been tried. Also note that it doesn’t actually reduce emissions, it just moves them around at a cost to the taxpayer. The alternative to “cap and trade” of course is the Carbon Tax. The University of Saskatchewan (National Post, July 9, 2018) has calculated that Trudeau’s $50/ton Carbon Tax, enthusiastically supported by our Premier, will cost the Saskatchewan economy $1.8 Billion. The University of Calgary has estimated that it will cost the average Saskatchewan family $1,000. What is the net effect on global emissions of this crippling tax?  Saskatchewan’s share will go from .173% (.00173) to .171% (.00171).  In other words it will have no real effect. With either scheme, the tax payer is on the hook, and costs are passed on to the regular everyday folks of this country. Let’s remember that almost the entire economy of any country is driven by the usage of fossil fuels.  Carbon leakage is a real problem whereby other countries that do not have our regulations, or environmental stewardship are producing at higher rates, and we are buying it from them instead of using and producing our own.  This leads to higher energy prices, and not just here but in developing countries as well who have new middle classes, and who deserve to have reliable and cheap energy to lessen poverty and make their lives better.  The question is, if the program worked, and Albertans and Canadians wanted these types of taxes forced on them to change their habits, then why does it need to be subsidized?  Why are we paying money that is supposed to go into initiatives that are supposed to make Alberta better, but we need carbon tax money given back to us though the bureaucracy of the government to try and buy acceptance of a tax that does nothing to change our environmental footprint?  These are all questions that need to be answered.  Please look up Vivian Krause, and please read her articles on the real costs of these taxes and the impact on ourselves and our energy sector.  As always we love to hear from you.