10 Highlights of Garnett Genuis Speech on Trudeau’s carbon tax


My grandparents were my inspiration for my involvement in politics.

My maternal grandmother was a Jewish child who grew up in Nazi Germany, and taught us up the importance of universal human rights.

Neither of my grandparents were political people in the same way that I am, but they were people whose lives were affected by politics.

This is a common Alberta story, but it was a shock for me to discover, upon starting university in Ontario, that many people in this part of the country had not even heard of the national energy program.

For those unfamiliar, the national energy program was a policy of the last Trudeau government that forced oil produced in Alberta to be sold at below market prices.

Albertans are not bitter people. We are proud and optimistic Canadians. We are proud to do our share, and more than our share.

We are not bitter people but we will never forget, and indeed we will be ever vigilant. People like my grandfather, who were hit by the national energy program, were not privileged aristocrats, they were not big banks and they were not oil companies.

They were ordinary people who came to one of those beautiful places in the world where hard work was enough.

There is not much so-called old money in Alberta. When Alberta is booming, anyone can make it.

It does not matter where people come from or who their parents are. If people are willing to work, then they can make it in Alberta.

The national energy program was a high-minded elite scheme that hit ordinary people hard.

It is 2016, but 2016 is apparently the new 1980. The Liberal government has once again turned its back on ordinary, decent, hard-working women and men who work in Alberta’s energy industry, and all the interrelated jobs in Alberta and from coast to coast.

What happened to national unity? What happened to working with the provinces? What happened to consultation?

A prime minister has not behaved this disdainfully toward the provinces in 35 years.

Let us talk about the policy here. Imposing a carbon tax will make it harder to do business in Canada.

We can hope that Canadian energy production will become more efficient in the coming years, and thus reduce emissions, but a punitive tax is probably more likely to reduce emissions by reducing production.

Canada accounts for less than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so doing our part does not mean cutting ourselves off at the knees to reduce that amount marginally.

I am not sure that the Liberals and the New Democrats believe in market mechanisms in any event, but just to make the point entirely clear, I think it would be considered a market mechanism if it uses market forces to drive behaviour.

The same is true of carbon taxes. One reduces one’s carbon tax take by cutting production, killing jobs, and moving jobs overseas. Again, this might be markets in action, but it is still a bad outcome.

However, now we are going back to a place of economic policy, which, to be frank, is just plain stupid. It will have a devastating impact on regional and national economies. We cannot let this happen again.

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