By Tim Kalinowski, Staff Writer
Todd Beasley, provincial organizing director of the Alberta Wide Rally Movement, says the NDP government’s carbon tax is the single biggest government-imposed threat the Alberta economy since the National Energy Program
“It’s not a streetlight. It’s not an intersection. It’s not a new road. This is legislation which will have massive societal implications for generations to come. We believe it will significantly erode the competitiveness of our industry, our farms and agriculture and manufacturing base. Imposing a tax of such significant magnitude at this point in time in our economic cycle it is cruel, irresponsible and elitist.”
Beasley says it is clear to him most Albertans and Canadians do not support a carbon tax.
“One national poll came out and just said about 70 per cent of Canadians are saying absolutely not (to a carbon tax). This is not an issue which is supported… You can imagine the number of people who are calling me. It’s farmers. It’s ranchers. It’s people in communities where they don’t even have a computer. These farmers are concerned. They are scared. This is going to take money out of their pockets they are using to keep their operations going.”
Beasley hopes to present a 500,000 signature petition to the government demanding a repeal of the carbon tax, or at the very least a referendum on the issue so Albertans can have their say.
“We as individuals within the movement are most certainly against the carbon tax, but what we are really opposed to is the manner in which the Notley and Trudeau governments are imposing this on the people of Alberta and Canada,” says Beasley. “If what you are doing you believe what you are doing is right, put it to the people. State your case, make your persuasive arguments as to why it is important, and allow the people to decide.”
Beasley admits he does not expect the Notley government to heed any such call for a petition, but even her rejection of it will serve a higher purpose.
“Our minimum goal is to get 500,000 signatures on a petition. If we reach that goal and put that as a duly constituted petition on the floor of the Legislature there is no doubt she (Notley) will ignore it. With her elitist attitude, she will just charge on. But what this absolutely will be, is it will be a hot button topic for the next election.”
Beasley says the carbon tax is, at best, a tax grab by the Notley government, and, at worst, a dangerous imposition of an ideologically-motivated policy on Albertans.
“The David Suzukis, the Leonardo DiCaprios and the Al Gores of the world, the Hollywood machine which keeps coming out with this existential (climate change) threat to mankind, there needs to be a voice on the other side which says wait a minute,” states Beasley. “It’s hysterical alarmism we are hearing from the left. We need to have an adult conversation, and, moreover, the federal Liberals, and most certainly the Alberta NDP, have not gone to the people, stated the case as to why this is necessary, and ultimately allowed the people to say yes or no to this.”
Terry Knodel is one of the organizers of the Medicine Hat rally. He is also a local cattle producer. He says he decided to get involved with the Alberta Wide Rally to help raise awareness, and get people active in their opposition to the carbon tax and other Notley government policies, which, in his opinion, have been extremely negative toward agriculture.
“I am concerned how much this tax is going to cost with fuel costs and shipping, and everything else that goes into anything to do with energy,” says Knodel. “We are concerned heating, and those types of costs, are going to be substantially higher. Purple fuel will not be effected, but that’s only for our machinery. That does not help our truckers, cattle liners, grain haulers. We know that price is going to be passed onto us… Right now cattle are down really big time, and then you add up that extra tax and its the pinch on the end of your nose. The straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
He hopes people will stand up to make their voices in opposition heard, and take action.
“Right now we have a government that says they are listening to the people, and they are doing the farthest thing from it… People need to start standing up to the government to let them know they are not happy. We are hoping this rally starts to activate people.”
The Alberta Wide Rally took place on Nov. 6 in 12 different locations throughout the province.