Notley to albertans_ change your car _ rick bell _ columnists _ opinion _ calgar

Change your car.

For the many Albertans not scoring a rebate to cover the extra costs of the carbon tax, Premier Notley has a message.

You can change your ways. You can emit less. You can drive a different vehicle. You can make your home more energy efficient.

Notley is in Edmonton on Friday, beginning the sales job on her budget.

One part of that budget is the new carbon tax. The premier insists it is a levy.

“It is a levy you can control how much you pay on. What people can do most effectively to reduce what they pay is to reduce their emissions.”

“So if you change the car you have, if you do energy efficiency stuff in your home you can pay less.”

When asked to provide examples of how Albertans can lower the amount paid in the carbon tax, Notley says: “Change the type of car they drive, maybe take public transit where more opportunities exist.”

The premier tells us of studies showing Alberta homes having the lowest level of energy efficiency in the country.

“We need to improve that,” she says.

The province’s new carbon tax hits the gas pump as well as fuels used for heating, such as natural gas in 2017.

The carbon tax will add 4.49 cents a litre at the pump in 2017 and go up to 6.73 cents a litre in 2018.

Natural gas costs will also go up and the Alberta government guesses the total carbon tax tab for a couple with two kids will be in the neighbourhood of $360 in 2017 and $508 in 2018.

If you’re single with a net income of $51,250 or more a year or, let’s say, a couple with two kids with a net family income of $101,500 or more a year, you don’t get any rebate from the government.

That’s the way things roll.

“It tends to be middle and higher income people that are the big emitters. Those people correspondingly have the capacity and greater flexibility to afford to change their behaviour,” says the premier.

“For middle and upper income people the opportunity is there. They can change their behaviour. It’s everybody’s choice.”

If they don’t choose to ditch their wheels for something friendlier to Mother Earth or pass on retrofitting their home and have to pay the full freight of the carbon tax it’s no biggie.

Notley says they’ll still be taxed lower than elsewhere.

Besides, says the premier, “it’s not a tax.”

Speaking of taxes, the Notley NDP don’t plan any new taxes before the election in the spring of 2019.

After that …

“Going forward over the ten-year horizon, will Albertans ultimately want to have a conversation about a whole range of potential revenue generating mechanisms? Perhaps,” says Notley.

“I think that’s wise. I think it’s wise for all citizens to have that discussion.”

I can think of better ones.

Friday is also the day when Alberta gets a credit downgrade as it takes on even more debt than expected with no repayment plan and red-ink budgets for several years unless oil prices come to the rescue in a big way.

Notley says she is “not at all surprised” by the downgrade. Neither are we.

Then again, there’s always the bogeyman.

At a speech in Edmonton, where some give the premier a standing ovation and some do not, Notley rolls out the sales job.

For this government they see only two choices. Their plan or the destruction of civilization as we know it.

There are no shades of grey.

Don’t like what the province is doing and the alternative is all about “reckless and brutal cuts” and throwing thousands of Albertans out of work.

It’s “knee-jerk and panicked cuts” and the “slash and burn approach.”

They “won’t repeat the mistakes of the past by downloading deficits on Albertans.”

No, the deficits will be downloaded on future Albertans.

It’s like hearing a song where you know all the words.

Notley sounds confident. You’ve got to give her that.

‘The economic fundamentals for Alberta are the best in the country now and you can go out many, many years and they still will be.”

And that Fiat 500 is a cute car.

rick. bell@sunmedia. ca

Change your car.

For the many Albertans not scoring a rebate to cover the extra costs of the carbon tax, Premier Notley has a message.

You can change your ways. You can emit less. You can drive a different vehicle. You can make your home more energy efficient.

Notley is in Edmonton on Friday, beginning the sales job on her budget.

One part of that budget is the new carbon tax. The premier insists it is a levy.

“It is a levy you can control how much you pay on. What people can do most effectively to reduce what they pay is to reduce their emissions.”

“So if you change the car you have, if you do energy efficiency stuff in your home you can pay less.”

When asked to provide examples of how Albertans can lower the amount paid in the carbon tax, Notley says: “Change the type of car they drive, maybe take public transit where more opportunities exist.”

The premier tells us of studies showing Alberta homes having the lowest level