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O’Toole to back $50/mt carbon tax

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan.

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Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is tearing up his leadership campaign’s signature promise and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election.

O’Toole is proposing to charge a $50/tonne carbon tax on everything from gasoline, to home heating fuel, and use the money to fund government-controlled savings accounts, which Canadians can use to purchase government-approved environmentally friendly products.

“We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms,” notes the plan. Until this week, Conservatives had labeled “pricing mechanisms” a euphemism for “carbon taxes”.

The leaked document says that under the new Conservative plan, Canadians would pay a carbon tax beginning at $20 per tonne, increasing over time to $50 a tonne. But the Tories promise it would go no higher than that, however, O’Toole had promised emphatically that there would be no carbon tax at all under his leadership.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation slammed O’Toole for the policy flip-flop.

“When he was running for leader, O’Toole pledged to taxpayers that he would fight carbon taxes. If he goes through with this scheme, he will be breaking his promise to Canadians.”

When running for party leader, O’Toole signed a CTF pledge to oppose the federal carbon tax. The pledge said: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole repeated his pledge to fight against any consumer carbon tax repeatedly during the campaign for the Tory top spot.

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan.

Under the Trudeau plan, a portion of the federal carbon tax is rebated to taxpayers to spend as they see fit. Under the O’Toole plan, revenues will go into personalized “green” savings accounts, that Canadians could only spend on government-approved environmentally friendly products.

People could then draw on those accounts for “things that help them live a greener life,” the document says. 

“That could mean buying a transit pass or a bicycle, or saving up and putting the money towards a new efficient furnace, energy-efficient windows or even an electric vehicle.”

The Conservative carbon plan calls for the accounts to be managed by a private sector consortium, appointed by the government.

Giving Canadians control of the money is so leaders “won’t be tempted to use the carbon tax revenue to fund his big government plans.”

The government control of the account however will severely limit what Canadians can spend their carbon rebates on, like gasoline, groceries, or housing.

The CTF was similarly unimpressed by the proposed “green card” policy.

“The CPC needs to stick up for struggling taxpayers and fight the carbon tax, not backtrack on promises and try to paper over a carbon tax with some kind of O’Toole points scheme,” said CTF Alberta directer Franco Terrazzano.

“The carbon tax means real pain for many Canadians and redeeming O’Toole points for solar-powered e-bikes isn’t a real solution.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

UCP MLAs: ‘Let unvaxxed post-secondary students get back to class’

“With no evidence to show that it has made their campuses any safer, colleges and universities are denying unvaccinated Albertans the opportunity to receive a higher education,” said the letter.

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A letter questioning Alberta post-secondary institutions on policy banning unvaccinated students’ from campuses while unvaxxed healthcare workers are now permitted to rapid test has been sent to campuses across Alberta by two UCP MLAs.

MLA for Cardston-Siksika and Deputy Government House Leader Joseph Schow and Peace River MLA Dan Williams signed the letter dated Thursday addressed to eight post-secondary presidents including the universities of Lethbridge, Alberta, Calgary, Mount Royal, MacEwan, SAIT and NAIT and Bow Valley College.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, along with the Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides and the Minister of Health Jason Copping were each cc’d in the letter.

The letter outlines the change to COVID-19 measures adopted by many Alberta post-secondary institutions in September requiring all students and staff to be fully vaccinated to attend in-person and online learning.

Letter from UCP MLAs to Alberta post-secondary institutions – pg 1

“Although these post-secondary institutions have based their protocols on direction from the Government of Alberta, they have chosen to exclude the option of providing a negative PCR or rapid test,” said the letter.

“There is little to no evidence showing that universities and colleges benefit from limiting in-person learning to those who are vaccinated.”

The letter claims institutions have failed to demonstrate how students on campuses banning the unvaccinated are any safer from COVID-19 than students on campuses allowing for rapid testing instead of proof of vaccination.

“With no evidence to show that it has made their campuses any safer, colleges and universities are denying unvaccinated Albertans the opportunity to receive a higher education,” said the letter.

“Many students opportunities vanish for making a personal health choice.”

Letter from UCP MLAs to Alberta post-secondary institutions – pg 2

The letter references Albert Health Services’ recent update to its mandatory vaccination policy in December allowing unvaccinated healthcare workers the option to rapid test and return to work.

“With that in mind, we have a simple question,” said the letter.

“What makes so many university campuses in Alberta more risk-averse than a hospital or other healthcare facility?

“If Alberta healthcare workers, who are likely exposed to COVID-19 daily are permitted to rapid test, why are post-secondary students being denied the same opportunity? These students are being held to a higher standard, a standard that will unfairly deprive many young Albertans of their future.”

The letter describes Alberta’s position to “lead the country in economic growth” moving forward and suggests a “highly skilled and educated workforce” will be needed.

Both Schow and Williams request all Alberta post-secondary institutions remove their “backward-thinking COVID-19 vaccine mandates” and “allow all students the option to rapid test so they can return to school, complete their education and help build a strong Alberta.”

The Western Standard did not hear back from either MLA for comment before publishing.

Although the Alberta government has not made vaccinations mandatory for any post-secondary institutions, many have adopted the policy on their own resulting in thousands of unvaccinated students not being permitted to access in-person or remote learning.

The University of Alberta, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge earlier this month extended online learning until after the February reading break.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

Trucker freedom convoy GoFundMe raises over $1M

“It’s our duty as Canadians to put an end to this mandates. It is imperative that this happens because if we don’t our country will no longer be the country we have come to love.”

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Canadians are responding enmasse to help the country’s truckers.

A GoFundMe to help the truckers surpassed the $1 million mark on Friday afternoon, after only being established six days ago.

Money donated is to be dispersed among truckers to aid with journey costs.

Truckers and supporters alike have gathered in a cross-country convoy drive in protest of mandatory vaccinations for their industry.

Donations go towards the cost of fuel, then food and lodgings along the journey.

Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods,” the donation page says.

“It’s our duty as Canadians to put an end to this mandates. It is imperative that this happens because if we don’t our country will no longer be the country we have come to love. We are doing this for our future Generations and to regain our lives back.”

Truckers Freedom Convoy 2022 has 3 main routes departing from Vancouver, BC, Sarnia, ON, and Enfield, NS, all meeting in Ottawa on January 29, 2022.

Smaller chains will drive to meet with the main convoy from more rural locations across Canada.

You can find all the routes of the convoy here.

“We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from Tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, well now its happening to us. We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people. Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive,” the group says.

The GoFundMe page has a goal of $1,100,000.

“But it’s a small price to pay for our freedoms. We thank you all for your Donations and know that you are helping reshape this once beautiful country back to the way it was,” says the page.

Truckers were previously deemed “essential,” however the federal government green-lit the loss of 12,000-16,000 (10-15%) of cross-border commercial drivers by making vaccinations mandatory, as anticipated by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

“This number may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but in cross-border areas such as Vancouver or Windsor, there’s a lot of drivers who will cross the border five or six times a day. That’s a lot of loads in a year that no longer have a way of coming up,” Colin Valentim told the Western Standard.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Energy

IEA recognizes Canadian oil industry as the environmental world leader

In 2018, oil and gas companies also invested $3.6 billion in environmental protection initiatives, recognized by the IEA as by far the largest environmental protection spend of any industry in the country.  

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Canada is doing great but should take measures to continue its reputation as a preferred oil and gas supplier on the global market, says the International Energy Agency.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol is a big advocate for net zero targets, but still recognizes the reliance on oil and gas that will persist into the future.

He said he prefers oil supply to come from “good partners” like Canada, he told a press conference.

“Canada has been a cornerstone of global energy markets, a reliable partner for years,” said Birol.

“We will still need oil and gas for years to come… I prefer oil is produced by countries … like Canada (that) want to reduce the emissions of oil and gas.” 

The same IEA report included recommendations for Canada to incentivise moves away from oil production, yet the director still recognizes Canada’s contribution to the global market.

World oil consumption returned to pre-pandemic levels and natural gas demand surpassed levels pre-COVID-19 last year, according to IEA data.

Yet Canada only supplies 6% of the current world market.

Consumption of both oil and gas is expected to continue rising even as more renewable energy sources come online. 

A Russian-caused natural gas crisis in Europe has many looking to Canada as a great alternative.

“The world needs reliable partners,” said Birol, of the European situation.  

Canada is the fourth-largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world and home to the third-largest oil reserves.

“This creates employment for Canadians and secure and reliable oil and gas for both domestic and global markets,” the IEA said.  

The IEA recommends that remaining competitive in global oil and gas markets requires further emission reductions, to ensure the sector remains a major driver of the Canadian economy beyond 2050.

Emission reduction has already been steadily implemented in Canada, analysts praised the oil and gas industry’s “strong track record” of reducing emissions intensity.

The oilsands by have decreased emissions by 32% since 1990 and further reductions of up to 27% are expected by 2030. 

Canadian oil and gas companies spend an average of $1 billion per year on clean energy technology, in addition to billions in environmental protection.  

In 2018, oil and gas companies also invested $3.6 billion in environmental protection initiatives, recognized by the IEA as the largest environmental protection spend of any industry in the country.  

“Canadian oil and natural gas producers are leveraging their improving environmental, social and governance performance and Canada’s stringent environmental regulations to build a global competitive advantage.”

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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