BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Central Albertans who are opposed to the Alberta government’s proposed carbon tax will have an opportunity to voice their concern, this coming Saturday.
Red Deer will be one of 12 different centres across the province hosting rallies as part of the Alberta Wide Rally movement on Nov. 5th.
“We are a group as individuals that are vehemently opposed and disappointed with the manner in which the carbon tax has been not only imposed on the people of Alberta, but certainly what (Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau is doing federally,” said Todd Beasley, the organizing director of the Alberta Wide Rally movement.
“We state this categorically: neither (Alberta Premier) Rachel Notley nor Justin Trudeau went to the people, explained why they were doing this and ultimately asked for a mandate from the people. What we’re so outraged about is this isn’t a new street light or a new intersection or a new road for that matter. This has implications of massive societal change.”
Beasley said his group believes the new tax would erode the competitiveness of Alberta and Canada and would be a major blow to Alberta’s already-struggling economy.
“We believe imposing a tax — certainly on the people of Alberta at this point in time when we’re in such serious economic straights is not only irresponsible, but it’s just plain cruel.”
The proposed Climate Leadership Implementation Act, more commonly known as the carbon tax, would impose levies which target 23 different types of fuel and which would take effect on Jan. 1st, 2017.
The goal of the rallies, which will all be held simultaneously across Alberta, is to garner support from Albertans on a petition which will demand a referendum or plebiscite on the proposed carbon tax.
Beasley, who is from Calgary, said the movement’s goal will be to collect 500,000 to one million signatures for the petition.
“I’m very delighted with this: as of late last night we heard back from the legislative secretary on our suggested wording that we wanted to go ahead and use in this petition. We had three go-rounds going back and forth with the secretary at the legislature. We now have a form of a petition that as long as we go forward and garner the signatures in the manner that we’ve described and use the words that we’ve asked for a pre-authorization on, it will be a petition that will be accepted by the Legislature,” he said.
“It would from that point forward be absolutely undeniable that the NDP government of Alberta does not have the support of the people, or certainly a large percentage of the people.
“We believe that the Notley government believes that what they’re doing is right, but bottom line they have not gone to the people to ask for that mandate and if they do believe that what they’re doing is right they should have no problem going to the people, stating their case and asking for that mandate.”
The non-violent rallies, Beasley said, will be non-partisan in nature and will be taking place in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Camrose, Drayton Valley, Edmonton, Hanna, Airdrie, Calgary and Brooks.
The Red Deer Rally will take place in front of City Hall beginning at 12 p.m.