BY RON ORR
MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka
No man is an island. In our modern, global economy, the same can be said of our province, even in Lacombe, Blackfalds, Ponoka, Alix and Clive.
Tiny Alberta, with our population of just 4.25 million, is blessed with the natural resources capable of providing food, heat, and power for hundreds of millions of people. Trading in these resources has enabled us to build a strong and prosperous home – a place where our children enjoy the opportunity to truly realize their potential. This is a rare gift, and not one to be taken for granted.
Unfortunately, it seems this is the path that Alberta’s NDP has chosen for our province. While refusing to support the projects necessary to get our energy resources to world markets, the Notley government is imposing a carbon tax and capping production in Alberta’s oilsands.
These unilateral commitments are not being matched outside of province.
Our leading trading partner, the United States, certainly embraces the potential of its resources. Under the Obama administration, investment in shale oil and gas has vastly increased. No small share of this oil is transported to global markets by Canadian trains to Canadian ports. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party candidate in the recent election advocated a carbon tax, and the President-elect has already announced his intention to fully support the development of America’s energy sector.
Like the U.S., China continues to increase production. The Chinese government, owners of the world’s largest economy, are constructing new electricity plants as quickly as possible; harnessing the power of coal at an unprecedented rate. India finds itself in a similar position, while Russia looks to increase exports of the oil and natural gas that power much of the industrialized world.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to middle-eastern nations like Iran to “leave it in the ground,” think again. Iranian oil exports have tripled over the past year.
Australia abandoned its carbon tax, while the French government is dropping plans to introduce a carbon tax. Even the province of Ontario has cancelled plans to subsidize future green electricity generation.
These jurisdictions obviously recognize something that Alberta’s NDP do not.
Resource development means jobs and economic growth. These are not minimum wage jobs; these are high paying, full-time, private sector jobs for company employees, unionized workers and self-employed contractors.
Resource development means more affordable food, shelter, heat, and fuel for customers. Meeting these basic needs helps lift people from poverty,and provides the kind of disposable income necessary to help middle class citizens who have struggled in recent years.
Resource development means billions in tax revenue for municipal, provincial, and federal governments. This means better education and better healthcare for all. Resource development can also help our society fulfill commitments to our seniors, allowing us to meet pension obligations and provide an improved quality of life for the elderly.
China, Russia, the United States, and all of the other major global powers understand the necessity of resource development, as well as the very real cost of failing to realize their potential.
By capping the oilsands and imposing a punitive carbon tax, the Alberta NDP is out of step with both our energy customers and our global competitors. But what is worse is these policies actively forestall the realization of Alberta’s potential.
Fortunately, here in the real world we recognize the truth: Alberta is not an island.
As MLA for the Lacombe-Ponoka Constituency my top priorities include meeting with and listening to local constituents. Please feel free to contact my office at 403-782-7725 or by e-mail Lacombe.email@example.com or drop in for a chat at 101, 4892 46 street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4.
Ron Orr is the MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka.