File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton. Social commentator Rex Murphy says it should be illegal for Canada to collect carbon taxes until there are new oil export pipelines leaving Alberta to world markets.

Alberta business forum applauds linking carbon tax implementation and pipelines

LAKE LOUISE — A business crowd of about 400 leapt to their feet in a standing ovation Friday at the suggestion that it should be illegal for Canadian governments to collect carbon taxes until there are new export pipelines delivering Alberta crude oil to world markets.

“Until there are pipelines leaving Alberta — plural — and there is oil flowing through them that will go to international markets, and US$40 price differentials are no longer the thing, until that time, it should be illegal for two lips to close on the phrase, ‘carbon tax,’” said pundit Rex Murphy.

The former CBC broadcaster and long-time defender of the oil industry ended a fiery speech by criticizing environmentalists and federal politicians alike for stalling pipelines needed to relieve a glut of oil in Western Canada that is blamed for Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend crude trading at as much as US$52 per barrel less than New York-traded West Texas Intermediate.

The Newfoundland-born orator quoted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said this week in Calgary the discounts amount to a “crisis,” adding he holds the government accountable for that crisis.

On the sidelines, executive fellow Ted Morton with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy said Murphy’s speech resonates with many in the oilpatch who feel betrayed by the government in Ottawa despite Alberta’s financial contributions to the country.

“We’re the Newfies of the West, right? We’ve never really been loved by Central Canada, neither Ontario nor Quebec, so there’s this lingering suspicion that Ottawa doesn’t work very well for us,” he said.

“The question of Alberta-Ottawa relations is very much a raw nerve in Alberta right now.”

Trudeau said on Thursday the federal government is addressing oil producer concerns by buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion project for $4.5 billion last summer and by continuing to try to get the expansion built after the Federal Court of Appeal struck down its National Energy Board approval in August.

Hundreds of protesters picketed his speech in downtown Calgary.

Voluntary production cuts of as much as 160,000 barrels of oil per day in November and December because of the low prices could shave up to half a percentage point from fourth-quarter Canadian gross domestic product, said TD Economics in a report on Friday.

It added it expects the discounts on heavy and light oil to moderate over the next two quarters, allowing the deferred activity to be recouped as 2019 progresses, resulting in only a muted national impact but more substantial affects in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Laura Dawson, a Canadian who is director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, was critical of the federal government’s approach to energy policy and rising costs of doing business generally in Canada versus the United States in her forum speech.

“I think there are some things in the U.S.-Canada cost gap we simply can’t deal with, like the tariffs the U.S. is putting up, that’s going to attract investment to the U.S. because people are going to be afraid of being shut out, but on taxes, we’ve got to look at that,” she said in an interview.

She added the “incoherence of Canadian carbon pricing,” where one province’s regime is different than another, is also an issue impeding Canadian competitiveness.

Just Posted

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric condemns gruesome hanging of teen

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric on Friday denounced the killing of… Continue reading

Boy, 13, arrested in killing of Barnard College freshman

NEW YORK — A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday in the stabbing… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Rode: Calleja Misson has a passion for hockey

The first time Calleja Misson saw hockey on television she knew she… Continue reading

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

POLL: Did you get a flu shot this season?

Did you get a flu shot this season?… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

We have to accept responsibility when life goes wrong

Several times, I have read articles about a drunk driver causing an… Continue reading

Christmas in Disneyland is a bucket-list blast for our anniversary

So, another anniversary arrived unexpectedly. The wedding kind. As in “anni” –… Continue reading

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric condemns gruesome hanging of teen

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite cleric on Friday denounced the killing of… Continue reading

Most Read