I have always felt the election of the Horgan NDP government in British Columbia was bad news for Alberta. This is especially true as the Green party holds the balance of power in the minority government. If you have ever spent any time on Vancouver Island, you will know they take environmental evangelism to new heights. Unfortunately, this evangelism comes accompanied by what can only be called a large dose of smug hypocrisy. Several years ago, I was walking in Victoria and I passed this enormous house with an oversized triple-car garage attached on the front. On the lawn of this house was a sign that said stop dirty Alberta oil. These are the type of people who drive their cars to the anti-Alberta oil protests.
This hypocrisy came to the forefront again in a little-noticed article featured on the CTV News web page on April 6 of this year. It seems, once again, the people of British Columbia are upset that gasoline prices are rising. Part of this was caused by an increase in the carbon tax. In addition, part of the increase was caused by a shortage of gasoline on the west coast due to the usual refinery problems. However, according to GasBuddy.com, a contributing factor to this shortage is the inability of the Trans Mountain pipeline’s capacity to meet domestic needs.
Premier Horgan’s response to all of this should make Albertans question how the left wing actually formulates policy. Premier Horgan announced the government was considering “some relief” for these high gas prices. It appears he did not quite know what this meant as he provided no details. However, the affront to Alberta came when he said the federal government should invest more in supply to help alleviate the problem.
So, here are the people of British Columbia, along with the premier of British Columbia, not appearing to understand several important issues. First, the carbon tax is supposed to be in place to raise the price of gasoline so people will drive less. This part of the policy seems to be beyond Mr. Horgan’s thinking. It makes me wonder if he views the carbon tax as simply a nice source of revenue, and if people keep driving as much as they did prior to the introduction of the tax, the revenue will just keep coming. Second, and much more importantly for Alberta, here is a government that is fighting Alberta and the federal government to stop the Trans Mountain expansion due to a vague set of environmental concerns. Here we are in Alberta, desperate to get our product to the west coast, battling a premier of British Columbia desperate to keep our product out of British Columbia. He then has the temerity to state the federal government must do something to increase supply.
Unfortunately for us in Alberta, we are stuck with this type of naive smug hypocrisy, and it has a detrimental effect on our economy.
Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.