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Josh Andrus - Project Confederation

Alberta’s Project Confederation says Trudeau government proposing constitutional attack

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Article submitted by Project Confederation

Has Ottawa gone completely crazy?

We told you it was coming.

The Liberals are, once again, thinking about nationalizing the natural resources sector.

How do we know?

They said so themselves!

If you’re not shocked, join the club.

Most farmers remember, with disdain, the Canadian Wheat Board – which forced them to sell their product to eastern Canada at below-market prices.

Many western Canadians remember, with even more disdain, the National Energy Program that completely destroyed the energy industry in Alberta and undermined national unity for decades.

Western Canadians have had an axe to grind with Ottawa for decades, and for good reason.

We are all very familiar with the efforts of the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal government to completely dismantle the energy industry, no matter the cost to our wallets, or our national unity.

It started with a simple “revenue-neutral” carbon tax that was supposed to suffocate the energy industry until it is completely taxed out of business.

Then, Ottawa created a series of new, complicated environmental regulations that seem to shift on a whim whenever energy companies come close to complying.

These regulations had the desired effect of killing any major infrastructure projects – like pipelines and mines.

After all, why would any company invest in a major project if the rules are going to change with the direction of the wind?

To make matters worse, the federal government bought a pipeline in the middle of a major expansion, slow-rolled its construction, and watched as the costs ballooned from $7 billion of taxpayer money in 2018 to over $30 billion last month.

(The Trans Mountain Expansion Project STILL isn’t finished, by the way.)

Ottawa followed that up by introducing the “Impact Assessment Act,” which gives them regulatory control over pretty much any project in any province, whether it crosses provincial borders or not.

And, if that wasn’t enough, earlier this year, they announced the “Just Transition,” a series of policies literally designed to legislate the well-paying jobs of the entire energy industry out of existence.

So, if you think what I’m about to say is crazy, just keep all of the above in mind.

Here it comes.

Just the other day, the federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, floated the idea of rescinding the Natural Resource Transfer Agreements.

The Natural Resource Transfer Agreements are the agreements that gave Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba control over their natural resources, but they only came about after a hard fight by the West to be treated equally to all the other provinces, who already had those same rights to their natural resources.

Rescinding the Natural Resource Transfer Agreements would effectively nationalize natural resources in the western provinces, despite it now being a core part of the Canadian constitution that the provinces control these resources.

It would also re-create the preposterous position where eastern provinces own their resources while western provinces don’t!

So, given all the above, you’d like to think that if the federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was asked about doing this, it would be pretty easy for him to just say no, right?

Instead, Lametti committed to looking at it!

Now, to be fair, committing to look at something isn’t the same as committing to doing something.

But why is he even willing to do that?

It would be unfair to the West, it would be unequal across the provinces, and it would be unconstitutional, so it should be a simple no.

It’s crazy to even contemplate the federal government violating the Constitution so blatantly – it would be a flashpoint for a Constitutional showdown that would make Quebec separation look like nothing.

Lametti himself even admitted that what he was saying was controversial – so it’s not like he can feign ignorance, or pretend that’s not what he meant.

So, again, why wasn’t it just a no?

Premiers Danielle Smith, Scott Moe, and Heather Stefanson issued a joint statement opposing the comments, in which they said:

 

“The federal government cannot unilaterally change the Constitution. It should not even be considering stripping resource rights away from the three Prairie provinces.

“The Prime Minister needs to immediately retract these dangerous and divisive comments by the Justice Minister.”

 

There has been no retraction, only a “clarification” from Lametti that he wasn’t committing to doing it, only committing to look at it.

Wait, what?

That’s literally the problem!

No one complained that he committed to doing it; we complained that he committed to look at it!

Thanks so much for “clarifying” that the government is not, at this time, committing to completely ignore the Constitution and strip natural resource jurisdiction from the western provinces.

Thanks so much for only committing to look into potentially doing it at a later date.

This all sounds crazy, I know.

I can’t believe I’m writing about it, either.

But, hey, eight years ago, the concept of a “Just Transition” was so far-fetched that only the Alberta NDP was talking about it.

All I’m saying is that, in 2023, Canada’s Attorney General committed to look at nationalizing all natural resources.

On the record.

That’s crazy, right?

If you want to help us make sure this remains nothing more than a crazy idea, please consider making a donation to fund our research, advocacy, communications, events, and activism:

We need every Canadian to understand what is at stake with a federal government that wants to violate the Constitution at every turn.

Regards,

Josh Andrus
Executive Director
Project Confederation

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Josh Andrus - Project Confederation

Project Confederation pushing for a repeal of the carbon tax

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News release from Project Confederation

Last week, Justin Trudeau made obvious what many of us have been saying for years – his carbon tax is all about politics, not the environment.

His Liberal government made a deeply political decision to exempt home heating oils from Canada’s carbon tax, right after promising they would never do such a thing.

“There will be no carve-out for a province. How fair would it be for the rest of the federation if we started carving out exceptions for provinces?”

Those were the words of Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, just a few weeks ago.

But with his poll numbers in freefall, and pressure mounting internally from his own Liberal MPs, the Prime Minister has abandoned his own signature policy.


If you already agree with us that the Carbon Tax
should be repealed, click here to sign our petition.
Otherwise, read on for more on why we think this is important.


The decision is outrageous for two reasons:

First – the vast, vast majority of Canadians who use home heating oil to heat their homes live in the Atlantic provinces – an area of the country where the Liberals are particularly struggling in the polls and have a large number of seats to defend in the next election

Second – home heating oil is actually worse for the environment than natural gas!

So, for those keeping track at home – the government announced they were giving a tax exemption to one (and only one) part of the country – the part where they desperately need more votes, and the fuel they’re exempting is worse for the environment than the fuel they’re refusing to exempt.

This surely must be one of the most blatant attempts at vote-buying we’ve ever seen, from a government looking to bribe its way back into power come election time.

Now, normally, this would be the point where the government would come out and deny that the decision was in any way political, make up some silly excuse that most of us can see right through, but which they plan to repeat often enough that some people will forget what they did.

Instead, though, they actually admitted it.

Heck, they went so far as to brag about it!

Rural Economic Development Minister, Gudie Hutchings, went on CTV’s Question Period to put the matter to rest but, instead, exposed the partisan regional motivations behind the move.

“I can tell you, the (Liberal) Atlantic caucus was vocal with what they’ve heard from their constituents, and perhaps they need to elect more Liberals in the Prairies so that we can have that conversation, as well.”

Unbelievable.

Can you imagine if a conservative federal government exempted Albertans (and only Albertans) from having to pay federal GST?

Or if a federal NDP/Bloc government gave Quebecers (and only Quebecers) an exemption from having to pay federal income tax?

The resentment this will cause in different parts of the country is incalculable.

It underscores the Liberals’ complete disregard for the Supreme Court as well.

One of the main arguments the Liberals used at the Supreme Court when attempting to defend the carbon tax as constitutional was that it was a non-political, neutral charge, applied fairly and evenly right across the country.

Clearly, that’s no longer true.

The response from the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments has been very strong.

In Saskatchewan, Scott Moe announced that SaskEnergy – the Crown corporation that supplies natural gas in the province – will no longer be collecting the carbon tax on home heating bills, nor remitting the carbon tax to the federal government.

“This is the most divisive federal government Canada has ever had. It’s not about climate change, not about fairness or about families, it’s only about votes.”

In Alberta, the Legislative Assembly opened with the Throne Speech, which put the problem in plain terms:

“There are powerful forces in our country, including in the federal government, that believe our province must fundamentally alter our provincial economy and way of life.”

Even the Alberta NDP – typically a doormat for the federal government – spoke out against the decision.

NDP leader Rachel Notley agreed that the change was unfair to the west, saying:

“If Atlantic Canada is being given a break on their home-heating bills, Alberta should be too.”

You know it’s going badly for the federal government when even Rachel Notley’s NDP is joining the UCP in criticizing them.

The carbon tax has always been unfair to western Canadians.

It is an extra cost at every level of the economy, from the cost of heating our homes to the cost of driving our vehicles, and it is a major tax on the cost of the goods and services we all consume.

And that cost is disproportionately felt by western Canadians because we naturally use more energy per capita, thanks to our geography and climate.

Instead of another carve-out, though, the solution is simpler.

It’s time to do what should have been done years ago.

It’s time to Repeal The Carbon Tax.

If you agree, please sign this petition calling on the federal government to Repeal The Carbon Tax immediately:

Over the past four years, we have been relentless in our efforts to achieve a fairer Constitutional deal.

To see Ottawa so blatantly applying regional bias to its environmental onslaught is clear evidence that we need to be stronger and we need to be louder.

Sure, we have some big wins – the Supreme Court’s decision that the Impact Assessment Act was unconstitutional being one – but we clearly have more work to do.

So please, sign this petition and join our effort to keep the federal government in its lane, and then pass this email on to every Canadian you know.

Together, we can make a difference.

Regards,

Josh Andrus
Executive Director
Project Confederation

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Alberta

Alberta NDP have their own Just Transition plan – Project Confederation

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From Josh Andrus, Executive Director of Project Confederation

Look what we discovered about the “Just Transition”…

You might remember, not so long ago, that federal Natural Resources Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the federal Liberal government would soon be rolling out its plan for a “Just Transition.”

This is the “Just Transition” plan that the federal NDP insisted be included in the “confidence and supply agreement” that is currently propping up Justin Trudeau’s minority government.

Then, an internal government memo was made public, suggesting that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in this “transition” – particularly in western Canada.

Project Confederation immediately sprung to action, investigating the proposed policies and launching a petition against the plan, which has now received more than 13,000 signatures.

(If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can do so here)

As news spread, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke out strongly against the plan.

But one politician was suspiciously quiet – the Alberta NDP leader, Rachel Notley.

We thought Albertans, and Canadians, deserved to know whether someone running to be Premier of Alberta supported the shutting down of Alberta and western Canada’s largest industry.

And so we pushed hard for Rachel Notley to answer the question – does she support the “Just Transition” idea?

But, as time went on, Notley’s silence became more and more deafening.

Eventually, her silence became so deafening that even some in the media began to question whether or not she truly disagreed with the plan.

Hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks – literally!

Two full weeks after Wilkinson’s announcement, Rachel Notley finally broke her silence, calling on Ottawa to “put the brakes on” the “Just Transition”.

But, “put the brakes on” sounded a lot more like “wait until after the Alberta election” than “ditch it entirely” to us.

So we decided to do some more digging.

Well, after some excellent work by our research team, we think we now know why it took so long for Rachel Notley to oppose the “Just Transition.”

It turns out that, rather than just being some federal NDP idea that she’s now distanced her provincial party from, the “Just Transition” was actually a huge part of her NDP government’s plans.

Insert flashback music here.

It’s November 2015, the newly minted NDP government are celebrating a big election win, and are moving forward with their climate change strategy.

(You know, the one they accidentally forgot to mention that they were going to implement if they won).

New Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips, commissions a blue-ribbon report by a team of high-profile academics, to help the NDP figure out exactly how to fulfil their campaign promise (sorry, their campaign omission).

Several months later, the “Climate Leadership Report” is released, setting out the government’s vision for climate policy and – guess what?

The “Just Transition” is a key part of the NDP’s Climate Leadership Report!

Yep, that’s right – forget not knowing what the “Just Transition” is, and claiming not to support the federal government’s plan.

In reality, it was Rachel Notley’s government who wrote the policy in the first place, and then made it a critical part of their entire environmental policy agenda.

Here are some extracts from the report…

In a section discussing mitigating the impacts of carbon pricing on low- and middle-income Albertans, the NDP said they would “support a sound and just transition for labour and communities…”

Later in the report, the authors highlight a quote from their friends at the Alberta Federation of Labour.

This quote is really just one gigantic contradiction, given the government is literally legislating their employment out of existence:

Next, the report talks about what the workers who lose their jobs might need to do as part of this “transition” – it notes that they may need assistance with “relocation”:

Oh, sorry, did the government legislate away your job?

Not to worry, we’ll “fix” it for you by helping you walk away from your entire life and move somewhere else.

Remember how Rachel Notley said Albertans might have to move to BC to find work while she was Premier?

Yeah, we’d prefer Albertans could find work here in Alberta, thanks.

*****

Here’s the thing…

Not only did the Alberta NDP support the concept of a federal “Just Transition” when they were in government, they were also actively implementing their own “Just Transition” – 8 years earlier than the federal government!

And yet now they claim to not support the idea at all?

No wonder it took so long for Rachel Notley to answer the question.

She was probably just surprised that no one in the media had dug up her own support of “Just Transition” legislation from years before, and was wondering if she could get away with pretending she hadn’t.

Well, we’re not surprised no one in the media bothered looking.

But, we did look, and thank goodness we did!

Thank you to our researchers who dug up this document, which I’m sure the NDP would have preferred we’d not found.

If you’d like to help us do even more research like this, please click here to make a donation to our work.

Otherwise, if you haven’t signed the No Unjust Transition petition yet, please click here to do so now.

Rachel Notley’s claim to now be opposed to the exact thing that she herself implemented is not credible.

She can run from it, but she can’t hide.

Her environmental policies put Alberta into one of its deepest recessions ever.

And we can’t afford to repeat those mistakes.

Sincerely,

Josh Andrus
Executive Director
Project Confederation

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