Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Carbon Tax - Alberta-style?

 #cdnpoli #abpoli

Earlier this year, no one would have thought carbon-rich Alberta would ever bring in a carbon tax.

Not even the NDP thought it.

So much so, they didn't even put it in their election platform. Why? Because they knew Albertans wouldn't buy it.  Well, centrist Albertans who were tired of the PCs and wanted change.  But they never thought Rachel Notley would ever bring in carbon tax.

With the Keystone XL pipeline nixed by President Obama, TransCanada turned around and laid off a whole pile of people.  Enbridge just did the same thing. 

She knows the NDP only have one shot at this over the next four years with a majority government.  Because I just don't see how they'll get elected again with the way the economy is, the job losses, the energy sector decline, the lack of investment, and mounting debt.

Yes, the price of oil is low, so wouldn't you think of trying to help businesses and consumers reinvest in the economy by not taking more money away from them? 

Well, except for the government party.  Few know one of the first things NDP MLAs did was give themselves a fancy 7% raise.

Premier Notley now says the average Albertan won't feel the pinch of the carbon tax.  This raises pump prices, which for shipping and other logistics, the costs get passed on to the consumer.  Food prices will go up--well, pretty much everything.

For the first time in my life living in this province, and I'm sure many of you do now, I feel like this is Dis-Advantage Alberta.

All the while, nothing will change with climate change, except maybe more Albertans will seek a change in scenery.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trudeau's first big test - G20-style

#cdnpoli . I have been watching intently how newly-minted Justin Trudeau has been conducting himself and his words at the G20. 

I'm conflicted on whether it is appropriate for him to have G20 bureau-gawkers take selfies with him, but at the same time, he is connecting with people from around the world.  This brings emotion, which is not such a bad thing.  The attacks against him saying he wasn't at the big boys' table but instead having these photos taken is not true. 

He did, in fact, speak with President Obama, and then Vladimir Putin as well, where I was most impressed with his confronting him on telling the Russian President to cease operations in Ukraine and vehemently showing Canada's support of that country.  That puts to rest those Internet memes about not being able to do that.

On whether Canada should continue bombing ISIL using the old and decrepit CF-18 fighter jets is another matter.  Few know that the bombing will continue until March 2016.  Honestly, wouldn't that be enough?  Along with France, the U.S., and Russia, being involved there, does Canada really need to be doing the bombing?

I also liked his comment that our national security approach already in motion isn't going to change and ramp up further because of the Paris terrorist attacks.  Remember that the Liberals in opposition were in support of Bill C51 on security, but they appear to be wanting to amend it.

But to continue to support the coalition war on ISIL, Trudeau has now pledged ground forces to help train Northern Iraqis to defeat ISIL.  I'm not so sure about this being effective, as many ISIL members are former Iraqi and Syrian forces themselves, but it still keeps Canada "at the big boys table".

On the Trudeau government wanting to process 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1st is a very tall order and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked the Prime Minister to hold off on that while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her province can take in a few thousand.

It is easy to cut off refugees when the allegations against them are that these terrorists were among those fleeing Syria.  From what I've read, this is not true and the terrorists' passports were fake, but were instead from Europe, one particularly from Belgium.  So, my knee-jerk approach will not give-in to fear here.  The refugees are fleeing from these very terrorists.

And of course there are the usual ignorant masses who blame Islam in general for these terrorists.  For terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIL, they constitute less than 0.01% of all Muslims.  So put your broadstroke back in your pocket and note the countless Islamic groups and Imams who have condemned these attacks.   And don't ever forget the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been killed by terrorist attacks either.

For Trudeau, Canada appears to be returning to the usual Liberal middle-power approach on international issues.  This means we are not going to be necessarily leading as much as it did with Harper, who, despite the campaign b.s., garnered much reputation for Canada as it continued to try and punch above its weight as was remembered during the World Wars and the Korea War.

I think Canadians can live with us being somewhat participatory in fighting ISIL, but not full-out like France is now engaged in.

But would that change if the unthinkable happened?