But over time, car technology improved. Passengers were soon able to go both farther and faster. It is important to point out that throughout the course of those changing times, the horse was still available to those willing to forgo the purchase of a car. I am not aware of any governments at that time passing laws against, or invoking burdensome taxes on the use of horses as a mode of transportation. More importantly, governments of the day did not order all the horses to be slaughtered and afterwards scratch their heads wondering “how will we all get around now?”
Fast forward to 2016 and to Alberta’s NDP led government. Since taking power, the NDP have announced the impending closure of every coal fired electricity plant in Alberta. They have added layers of costs to industry including corporate taxes and a massive carbon tax directly aimed at the oil and gas business. They claim they will raise royalties “when the price improves” – effectively limiting new investment from entering the province. They have made Alberta’s future even more uncertain with their guarantee to develop a hard cap on the energy industry’s total emissions.
Yet despite all of this, if industry has somehow managed to hold onto even the slightest glimmer of hope towards the current government, it may not last long. Environment Minister Shannon Phillips publicly has mused about not collecting carbon taxes in the future. Her reasoning? Alberta’s oil and gas business will simply no longer exist or be much smaller than it is today and therefore, nontaxable.
However, it now appears the Alberta NDP is publicly scratching its head wondering what will replace Alberta’s current energy industry. Glowingly, they talk about renewable energy and the resulting jobs that will be created to replace the thousands of high-paying oil and gas jobs. But if one were to ask them for details of when and where these future jobs will be, their answers amount to next to nothing. If one were to ask them for an accounting of the amount of energy eliminated, they draw blanks. If one were to ask them for a direct comparison of which technology will replace that loss of energy, again not a word.
It appears the Alberta NDP’s only solid plan to replace Alberta’s vibrant energy sector is to import hydro-powered electricity from our British Columbian neighbours. Yet by importing BC power, I wonder if the NDP truly understands the impact such a decision will have. Doing so will effectively export thousands of Albertan jobs and turn the Alberta economy into an energy importer. Can this really be Premier Notley’s intention?
The other day, while driving through the vast Alberta prairie, I couldn’t help but notice someone riding their horse far in the distance. And after thinking about how change in general impacts our lives, I realized I have one simple question for the Alberta NDP: While you are busily creating the green and renewable energy future that all of us believe will evolve over time, would it be okay if we could keep working at our well-paid jobs, continue to stay warm in the winter, and affordably get around?