Ottawa Introduces “National Energy Program: The Sequel”

Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Notley Defends Her Beer Tax

By pointing to her new corporate welfare program for some Alberta brewers

(You get subsidies if you are small and stay small — that’s obviously helpful for one’s growth strategy!)

Notley’s South African Welfare Firefighters

 

 

The Alberta government, through the CIFFC, contracted 300 of the cheapest firefighters they could possibly get.

Everyone made a big deal out of these cheerful South African firefighters, who sang and danced upon their arrival at the airport. Hooray! How cool is that?

No one has said much about the fact that these firefighters were hired as part of a South African government job creation program called “Working on Fire.” They may have only been hired shortly before their departure for Canada (they arrived on May 29).

Are they real firefighters? We can’t be sure.

Once here, the workers go on strike because of their wages, which are pathetic by the standards of a comfortable Albertan (about $4 an hour, or $50 per day). Now they might all be going home.

Premier Rachel Notley says they contracted to pay the firefighters $170 per day + food and lodgings.

So the South African government is exporting its welfare firefighters and taking $120 per day off the top for each one. They must think the Alberta government is a bunch of suckers.

 

Notley, who apparently thinks everyone should pay $15 minimum wage except when her government wants cheap African thralls to fight fires, says she is going to fix everything. She claims she will somehow ensure the South African firefighters get paid the appropriate Alberta wage (which is small fortune to them — each day will equal almost a month of the average firefighter wage back in their home country).

Since the firefighters are paid by the South African government, this means the Alberta government will have to give money to the South African government. It’s probably fair to think the South African government is still going to skim “a little” off the top.

The South African government tells us not to worry, because that $4 per hour wage is just an “allowance”, and their firefighters still get regular pay at home (average 2,400 rand, or about $205 per month). The welfare firefighters are double dipping!

We’ve heard of people applying the broken window fallacy to natural disasters: “This wildfire is pretty bad, but fixing things will boost our economy!” Even those people wouldn’t be so daft as to suggest it would boost another country’s economy.

Who would have thought that a wildfire in Fort McMurray would lead to foreign aid for South Africa, letting corrupt bureaucrats enrich themselves at the expense of the Alberta taxpayer?

— Read more at CBC.ca —

 

Should We Subsidize CO2?

Alberta’s NDP government passed its carbon tax law today.

Many agree that it is one of the stupidest taxes ever created, however even many arguments against the tax accept the basic premise that CO2 is a negative externality and “something must be done.”

But what if the premise underlying the tax — not to mention any other “climate change” policy — is wrong?

What if the social cost of carbon is negative — i.e. the net effects of carbon are positive?

A new paper by Dayaratna, McKitrick, and Kreutzer finds reason to believe this is justified by the empirical data:

Substituting an empirical ECS distribution from LC15 yields a mean 2020 SCC of $19.52, a drop of 48%. The same exercise for the FUND model yields a mean SCC estimate of $19.33 based on RB07 and $3.33 based on the LC15 parameters—an 83% decline. Furthermore the probability of a negative SCC (implying CO2 emissions are a positive externality) jumps dramatically using an empirical ECS distribution. Using the FUND model, under the RB07 parameterization at a 3% discount rate there is only about a ten percent chance of a negative SCC through 2050, but using the LC15 distribution, the probability of a negative SCC jumps to about 40%. Remarkably, replacing simulated climate sensitivity values with an empirical distribution calls into question whether CO2 is even a negative externality. The lower SCC values also cluster more closely together across difference discount rates, diminishing the importance of this parameter.

This all makes perfect sense, because there are non-climate effects of CO2 and they are extremely beneficial to the planet (plant growth, crop yield, human well-being). Furthermore, the climate effects of CO2 observed in the real world are far less damaging than what’s been predicted by the models of climate change propagandists — and these too are largely beneficial. On this, see Goklany’s Carbon Dioxide: The Good Newsfrom GWPF.

So using the logic of carbon tax advocates, since carbon provides us with overall benefits, we should subsidize carbon rather than tax it extra.

CONCLUSION

From the standpoint of economics and ethics, we should neither subsidize carbon nor tax it.

If you have a carbon tax, get rid of it. If you don’t have one but think you need one, forget it.

Carbon taxes are an abomination — they do nothing to improve the environment and exist only to plunder citizens so that politicians, central planners and cronies can enrich themselves.

Local McDonald’s Is Ready for Minimum Wage Hikes

The Alberta NDP wants to increase the minimum wage to $15, nearly a 50% increase over the old rate.

We know they want to do this not to help unskilled, low-wage workers, but rather to enrich their union friends.

Obviously such laws outlaw certain kinds of employment and create more unemployment than otherwise. They reduce jobs available for the poorest, least skilled workers.

The McDonald’s location by this writer’s office has prepared for the foolishness of the NDP’s economic fiat.

mcdonks kiosk

It’s important to note that McDonald’s currently pays its new regular workers more than the old minimum wage already… but they don’t pay more than forthcoming minimum wage. So they have to get ready.

At a certain price, it makes sense to replace people with machines. Why not? No payroll taxes, fewer regulations, no training, and a lot less hassle overall for the employer.

Now when you need a Big Mac combo, you get to interact with a screen instead of being greeted and served by a smiling teenager.

And since you spend all day working on your computer or fiddling with your smartphone, I’m sure you’re desperate to stare at more screens.

I guess the happy fast food worker is just another wonderful occupation being destroyed by the knavery of politicians.

Do you remember the glorious era when you would roll up to a gas station and a helpful fellow would come out, pump your gas, check your oil, and clean your windshield all while you sat comfortably in your car? The minimum wage destroyed the gas station attendant job.

Fewer jobs for unskilled workers, and less service for consumers.

Minimum wage is compulsory unemployment. But here’s the amazing thing:

Even minimum wage proponents know this.

Otherwise, why would they stop at $15 an hour? Why not $100 per hour? There should be no argument against this if we follow the logic that government can make workers wealthier with a stroke of the pen.

Governments only raise the minimum wage to the point where it hurts the marginal workers.

They would never raise it to the point that it hurts, say, white adult male workers with union seniority. Because the entire point of the NDP raising minimum wages is to help unions.

Let’s not forget Premier Notley is a lifelong union lawyer and her husband is an official with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Notley’s government office even returns calls made to Arab’s cellphone). We know whose side they’re on.

Hint: It’s not the side of the nice, polite young teenager who wants to work at McDonalds to make a little bit of money but isn’t yet worth $15 an hour.

Observations on the Royalty Review Panel Open House

In the following I will share the observations of a man who attended last night’s Royalty Review Panel Open House in Calgary, originally posted on Instaface or Facegram or whatever it’s called. This man is an entrepreneur in the Alberta oil industry, so it seems reasonable that he understands many of the underlying issues. His reporting rings true to me and it should deeply unsettle not just Albertans, but also the other Canadians who gobble up the transfer payments out of Alberta:

Well I went ahead and attended the Royalty Review Panel Open House in Calgary last evening to see what they had to say. They had lots of stand up displays with hundreds of factoids about supply, world prices, reserves and a whole bunch of other information most of us Albertans have known about for decades. Interestingly enough they had whiteboards for attendees to write comments, Trevor Marr took pictures and the attendees were hammering the government hard on the many points you’ve already posted, read, liked and shared on these pages.

I spoke and asked questions about the risk of engaging in a review at a time when prices are low and royalty revenues are already in full collapse. The Al Gore trained political hack, ATB CEO Dave Mowat did confirm that the government would be lucky to collect $3 Billion this year, down from $9 Billion last year. He couldn’t answer why if we were at $13 Billion prior to the last review and it contributed to a drop to $9B since and were now down at less than $3B, what good could possibly come from throwing two plus years of uncertainty into the mix now? He kept referring to how they were sure that they could OPTIMIZE the royalty rates. But no, the full report wouldn’t be shared with Albertans as a large portion of their process was so complicated it could only be done by 3 separate expert non public panels that they are hiring to work for a whole month. But the end result would be the best Royalty Rate system ever done and the OPTIMIZED recommendations would be provided to the NDP government by December 31st, 2015. He also said that since oil would be phased out over the next 20-30 years, it can no longer be viewed as a finite resource since we have more than will ever be able to be sold! He said the inability to get to markets wasn’t relevant to the rate structure! He also said if our oil wasn’t competitive in the world markets not having pipelines to those possible clients didn’t matter. He said it wasn’t their concern if other taxations such as corporate tax rate increases or carbon tax burdens were put on our oil and gas industry as they were only mandated to recommend a royalty rate structure that was based upon 4 core principles that could guide all the future rate reviews. He suggested that every two years or so they might want to adjust rates! He admitted that the $65 Billion in annual investment by the oil and gas industry was dependent upon both pricing and royalty competitiveness. He wouldn’t say how much lower the investment is this year nor how much investment might be withheld due to the not knowing what the rates are going to be. He couldn’t answer as to how long it might take the NDP government to implement their recommendations or even if they would.

I came away convinced that the whole process is a traveling Gong Show run by ideologues who are so enamored with their own intelligence that they actually believe that they can squeeze more revenue out of the resources that we own by performing a superb OPTIMIZATION of the rates. They have no concept of RISK. Dave Mowat declared that the USA is no longer a trusted customer, that they have become our biggest competitor and since they produce so much oil relative to our miniscule output, we cannot compete. I also spoke with Peter Tertzakian from the panel who accused the PC’s of not collecting enough over the past decades. He also had absolutely no concern that the revenues had fallen due to the low prices, he expressed a concern that Albertans weren’t getting enough revenue from the oil being sold with no concern that the O&G industry were operating at a loss as is!

In other words, much like Rachel’s NDP government, nobody on this Royalty Review Panel are prepared to Stand Up For Alberta! They do not understand risk management, product promotion, stability needs of large long term investment, spinoff benefits from capital investment, incentivization potential, access to tidewater ports and human cost impacts from reduced employment opportunities. We must redouble our efforts to wake them up. I got under their skin, Mowat tried to label me as smug but apologized when I called him out for attempting to assign a negative connotation on a brief facial expression I might have had while listening to another speaker grill him. Although someone in the back did holler that I should be the next Energy Minister. 🙂

Let me call attention to a few of the most startling comments here.

[Mowat] also said that since oil would be phased out over the next 20-30 years, it can no longer be viewed as a finite resource since we have more than will ever be able to be sold!

WHAT.

Dave Mowat declared that the USA is no longer a trusted customer, that they have become our biggest competitor and since they produce so much oil relative to our miniscule output, we cannot compete.

WHAT.

I also spoke with Peter Tertzakian from the panel who accused the PC’s of not collecting enough over the past decades. He also had absolutely no concern that the revenues had fallen due to the low prices, he expressed a concern that Albertans weren’t getting enough revenue from the oil being sold with no concern that the O&G industry were operating at a loss as is!

WHAT.

We shouldn’t be surprised by foolishness coming out of a Royalty Review Panel that is chaired by Al Gore fanboy Dave Mowat, but this is actually worse than I expected. If such considerations are guiding the panel’s recommendations, Alberta is in a lot of trouble.

The entire royalty review is based on asinine premises as demonstrated above along with the laughable pretense of caring what the public has to say.

Scary NDP Climate Change Survey Reveals Their Desired Policies

Members of Notley’s NDP government are global warming radicals. Remember that the global warming movement is not actually about science and global warming, which is why global warming fanatics disregard the mountain of evidence that refutes them. Global warming activists slavishly cling to junk science because they yearn for power where lawmakers, bureaucrats, and crony capitalists who favor socialism can gain control over the economy.

With that in mind, the government has released a fake survey regarding Alberta’s policies on climate change. It is fake because they really don’t care what anyone thinks. It’s like “you can choose any color you like as long as it’s red.”

(By the way, you don’t need to be an Albertan to take the survey.)

Basically, it is a rather unfair survey. It doesn’t really give you the option to reject all the proposals. Sure, it asks you whether you support more “government action” on climate change, but after that you only get loaded questions and the option to rank various dumb policies from most awesome to least awesome. So obviously the plan is to disregard any opinion where the respondent says they want no further government action on climate change, and just tally up results the rest of the survey and say “Such and such are the policies Albertans support the most!”

First it asks you whether you are worried about climate change. Well, despite all the chatter about it, no one really seems to be all that concerned about climate change to be honest. They care about it less and less with each year, and it’s at the bottom of their list when it comes to environmental issues.

global warming gallup poll

worriedagreatdeal

From there, each section starts with a preamble of deceptive, shallow propaganda. A large section of deception precedes the bulk of the survey:

The world’s climate has changed at an unprecedented rate since the 1950s. Increasing concentration of greenhouse gases have warmed the atmosphere, diminishing snow and ice, warming oceans, raising sea levels, and causing more extreme weather, such as floods and droughts. We can also see its effects locally through impacts such as the spread of the mountain pine beetle.

Scientific evidence tells us that – without significant action on a global scale – the consequences of climate change will be severe.

Even if all of this were true (it isn’t; global warming exists only in the minds of charlatans and cranks), it doesn’t follow that we can or should use the government to do anything about it. So the survey basically starts off with a big non sequitur and by lying to the respondent .

Then comes the craziness:

In advance of the conference, the Government of Canada has proposed a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. While Alberta’s energy-based economy helps fuel economic growth across Canada, we also account for approximately 37 per cent of Canada’s total emissions. The reputational impact of Canada’s action on climate change is likely to fall heavily on our province, which has already drawn domestic and international criticism.

This is really awful. The NDP is telling us that we should ravage the economy for the sake of our reputation among contemptuous and ignorant people — within and without Canada — who might not like us because we burn a lot of fossil fuels while we recover even more fossil fuels, supporting humanity with cheap energy which makes the modern world’s economy possible at all. At the same time, some people seeking power in the next federal election want to prevent Alberta from mining tar sands and burning fossil fuels in the process.

Slight detour: Regardless of any commitment Ottawa makes, there is no real constitutional authority for the federal government to interfere with a province’s resource development. The 1982 Amendments to the Constitution Act explicitly state the that the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over their non-renewable natural resources. Of course, as always with these matters, there are some loopholes. The federal government has jurisdiction over  “local Works and Undertakings declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the Advantage of two or more of the Provinces.” That’s a problem. Plus, we had the National Energy Program regardless of any constitutional division of powers. So the Constitution Act doesn’t seem to be worth a damn. On the other hand, provincial governments have the constitutional right to do anything they want regarding the resources in their territories.

But anyway…

Then the propaganda tries to make us care about another climate change conference and fairy tale treaties:

In December 2015, the United Nations is hosting the Conference of Parties in Paris. The desired outcome is to create a binding treaty that will commit all nations to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

This is completely Irrelevant. These treaties never go anywhere. No one cares about them. There are no sanctions. The governments of the world never bothered to implement the Kyoto treaty of 1992 or its update in 1997. It lapsed on with the end of 2012. Game over. No one cares.

Then comes this nonsense:

Alberta’s energy economy depends on its ability to reach – and sell – our resources in markets throughout North America and around the world. These markets are increasingly demanding cleaner forms of energy. If we don’t take action on climate change locally, Alberta will find itself increasingly isolated and shut out of markets.

This is just wrong and sneakily misleading. When it comes to the environmental issue, opposition to the pipeline infrastructure stems from people, rightly or wrongly, being afraid of toxic substances flowing through the country in pipelines with the potential to leak out or spill and poison everything around them and kill everybody. It has nothing to do with climate change! Alberta can implement all the climate change policies it wants, but people will still have rational and irrational concerns about pipelines. Alberta’s efforts to access new markets for its products will not at all be helped by its abusive government’s bigger, badder climate change policies.

From there, the various agree/disagree questions reveal all the dream policies of the NDP. Question #14 is where it becomes obvious that they don’t care about your opinion. These are the things the NDP wants and it’s going to do them.

Now, thinking about the options discussed above, please rank them by priority with the highest being the action you would most like to see taken. Drag the choices into your preferred order, or use the arrow buttons to move the options up or down.

choices

So it asks you to rank a bunch of terrible policies that all belong in the “evil and uneconomical” category: an exploitative interprovincial cap n’ trade system, increasing taxes on industrial companies that burn fossil fuels, increasing subsidies to companies with political connections, increasing taxes on everyone, and subsidizing middle and upper class people who own buildings and houses.

You’ll notice it fails to include the option of “no further government intervention, thanks.”

Then in goes on to ask whether you support more horrible policies, including:

  • Redistributing money to favored municipalities and spending more money on government institutions for “retrofits”
  • Subsidizing homeowners (which tend to be middle or upper class people) with ‘incentives’ and grants (theoretically, incentives could include reducing taxes and regulations on more energy efficient technology — but who are we kidding? This is the NDP).
  • Subsidizing and protecting politically favored renewable energy producers.
  • Literally killing (or “phasing out,” as the NDP likes to say) an industry that some people don’t like. Don’t you love when the government decides who will be in business and who won’t be?

This is all quite terrifying. This tells us what the NDP wants. They just want to beat us over the head with fake survey results in a pathetic attempt to justify their destructive policies.

If you want bureaucratic control over the economy, inefficiency, unemployment, and impoverishment, you should support the NDP’s climate change policy.

If you want to subsidize India and China, where they don’t care about the bureaucratic rules and regulatory systems in Alberta, then you should support the NDP’s climate change policies.

If you want to get less energy and pay more for everything, then support the NDP’s climate policies.

If you are a good person, you should oppose them.

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