The Carrot or the Stick?

This week's column from Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr questions the benefits of the NDP's carbon tax.

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr

Carrot and stick is an approach to motivation which is widely used by business and government.

Carrot stands for rewards while stick stands for penalties. In short, the word carrot is used for good performance and sticks for unacceptable performance. It is based on the belief people are motivated by hope and fear hope of getting rewards and fear of being denied rewards.

Many Albertans feel that the NDP Government decided to use the “stick” approach when they introduced the Carbon tax. Many hard working Albertans are very upset about being forced to pay a punishing tax to comply with Ottawa’s new environmental regulations. Thousands of working families do not know how they are going to pay their bills. Businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.

The Carbon tax is not fair to all Albertans, because it punishes rural people who have greater distances to travel. The fact is walking or taking the bus to get groceries is not an option for many. Neither is turning off the heat.

The Carbon tax is nothing but a tax grab from hard working people who deserve a break. One constituent wrote; “I just opened my January bill for natural gas. Carbon Tax was $34 on $123 cost of gas. This is crazy.” When fully implemented, some estimate the carbon tax will cost the typical household as much as $2,500 per year.

The Government’s new $600,000 climate literacy education grant is, to many, an offensive waste of Alberta’s money. The new grant will be funded with revenues from the carbon tax and could be made available to non-profit groups who are political allies with the NDP.

The Carbon tax will cost Alberta school boards an estimated 8 to 12 million dollars this year alone. Ultimately it’s the taxpayer who will be picking up the tab for the outrageous increase in the cost of running Alberta schools.

The Carbon tax also impacts municipal taxes. For example, The City of Red Deer estimated that the carbon levy will have a $600,000 impact on its budget annually. The total impact of the carbon tax on the City of Lacombe municipal operating budget works out to approximately $30,000, or roughly 0.25% of the operating budget.

There is hope, however. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has promised to repeal the $3 billion tax, if elected premier. During stops in Lacombe, Blackfalds and Ponoka recently, he vowed to challenge the federal government under section #92 of the constitution. If that doesn’t work, the Wildrose will find a way to lower other taxes to offset the imposed levy.

It is important in a resource-rich province like Alberta that our government work co-operatively with industry to generate solutions and strategies that develop resources responsibly while keeping our air, water, and land clean. Wildrose supports a green industry and green economy, by using the Carrot of positive incentives to stimulate the economy rather than a Stick of punishing taxes.

Wildrose would also remove much of the bureaucratic red tape that inhibits innovation, development and transition to new clean industry.

The Carbon tax is making life more difficult for central Albertans and making our province less competitive. We invite you to share how the tax is affecting your pocket book. We will gladly share the results with the Premier. Please send us information about your reality.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office at 403-782-7725 or by e-mail at Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or drop in 101, 4892 46 Street Lacombe.