I’m monitoring the exciting election in Alberta between radical leftist Alison Redford and moderate conservative/libertarian Danielle Smith. The Progressive Conservative party has been dominating the province for years, but their new leader Alison Redford is a liberal extremist on social policy and fiscal policy.
In a list of party principles approved at the Wildrose annual general meeting last year, members voted in a clause that reads: “Wildrose members believe the Government of Alberta should…implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of health-care professionals.” Ms. Smith also told the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association that “Wildrose will ensure conscience rights for marriage commissioners and health professionals,” according to a summary of candidate positions published by the association in August, 2011.
Ms. Redford, who opposes the notion of conscience rights, eagerly responded to a reporter when asked about it Wednesday, hoping it will cast the Wildrose as a hard-right party and win back supporters.
“I was very frightened to hear the discussion today.… I certainly respect people’s personal beliefs, but I believe in a province where we have to treat individuals with dignity and respect. We have to live in a community where we respect diversity and we understand that everyone feels safe and included,” Ms. Redford said.
She said doctors would be expected to prescribe birth control and perform abortions, regardless of personal beliefs, to ensure that “all of the unique families in this province have the opportunity to know that when they’re accessing services, they can trust those services can be provided. And when they take on professional responsibilities, I expect them to be able to meet those professional responsibilities. I think it’s a critical discussion in this election.”
[…]The Wildrose says conscience rights cases will be among those heard by justices in a new Human Rights Division of the Alberta provincial court. Anyone filing a complaint and needing legal aid will be referred to a roster of “human rights advocates.”
These advocates will have specialized training in human rights law and be in good standing with the Law Society of Alberta. The division will be funded with money currently used for the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which Wildrose plans to scrap.
Danielle Smith’s view is a moderate view – it’s more moderate than Redford’s leftist view.
On fiscal issues, Danielle Smith has proposed returning some of the money from budget surpluses to taxpayers, but the leftist Alison Redford opposes that.
[…]…Alison Redford wondered whether or not Albertans could be trusted to spend such bonuses wisely.
Redford and the tut-tutting experts reveal one thing with their criticisms: They believe all money belongs to governments and you and I should be grateful for whatever crumbs we are permitted to keep. If you cannot demonstrate you have a higher purpose for the money you earn than the schemes proposed by politicians, bureaucrats and academics, then you have no right to complain if government taxes away giant gobs of your income to spend on the “public good.”
On the other hand, the proposal by Smith to send each Albertan a cheque whenever the provincial budget is in surplus is an indication that Wildrose believes what you earn is yours and government should tax away only as much as is necessary to fund essential services. If a government finds itself with more money on its hands than it needs to cover the spending it budgeted for in a given year, it should be obliged to return the overage to taxpayers rather than rub its hands with glee and look for new ways to spend.
Again, Danielle’s view is a moderate view – it only returns money to taxpayers if there is a surplus. Redford, on the other hand, has been spending like a drunken sailor since she took office, and most Albertans I know think that tax increases are just around the corner.
The latest poll shows the Wildrose with a 13-point lead over the Alison Redford’s leftist Progressive Conservative party.
Wildrose: 43% (+10)
PC: 30% (-6)
Danielle Smith: 56% approve, 32% disapprove (57-30 in Calgary, 50-42 in Edmonton)
Alison Redford: 48% approve, 43% disapprove (45-45 in Calgary, 45-43 in Edmonton)
Homeschooling groups are sounding the alarm this week as the Alberta government prepares to pass a bill that they say threatens to mandate “diversity” education in the home.
The province’s new Education Act, re-tabled Feb. 14th by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative government to replace the existing Schools Act, stipulates in section 16 that all instructional materials in schools “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”
But, in addition to publicly-funded school boards, the proposed Act defines “school” to include private schools and “a parent providing a home education program.”
Paul Faris of Canada’s Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) says the law subjects homeschoolers’ entire families life to the Human Rights Act, the provincial version of “human rights” legislation that has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality.
“Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act,” Faris explained.
“At least when the child leaves the school and goes home it no longer applies, but for a homeschooling family they never get away from this,” he added.
Faris said Alberta already has some of the toughest regulations for homeschooling among the Canadian provinces. Parents have to register with a school board and submit a plan at the beginning of the year, followed by two visits from a certified teacher that normally occur in the home. He did note, however, that difficulties are somewhat mitigated by the fact that parents have some choice about which school board in which they register.
[…]The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) says the Education Act as written “provides opportunities to impose curriculum and practises upon all schools in Alberta, whereby special interest groups will have leverage to actively promote alternate lifestyles.”
“Individuals or groups with special interest agendas could take action against home educating families by utilizing [section 16] of the Act,” they add.
[…]The Progressive Conservatives have 67 of the 83 seats in the province’s legislature, so the bill’s passage is essentially assured. But Faris noted that the province is set for an election so the government may be open to changing its mind on the homeschooling aspect to avoid controversy.
Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.
“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.
Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”
Quebec already pushes religious pluralism and moral relativism onto homeschoolers, and Ontario is probably going to do the same, soon. I really think that Alberta needs to take a closer look at conservative Danielle Smith and elect her next time. No more “Progressive Conservatives” whatever that means.
If NDP Leader Jack Layton wins a minority government May 2, supported by the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, he plans to make Canadians pay a new charge estimated at $21.5 billion over the next four years for the right to emit man-made carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Under Layton’s proposed cap-and-trade plan, this money will be paid by ordinary Canadians in higher retail costs for goods and services, along with job layoffs and lower salaries and benefits for workers.
Layton’s plan is to impose cap-and-trade on us soon after the NDP takes power.
We know this because in outlining his proposal during the election, the NDP estimated it will collect $3.6 billion from cap-and-trade in this fiscal year alone, which started April 1 and ends March 31, 2012…
If you haven’t opened your September hydro bill yet, you’re in for a shock. Rates have risen 18 per cent this year to date, and that’s just the start. By this time next year – election time – Ontario power consumers will be forking over about twice as much (in nominal terms) as they did when Dalton McGuinty took office in 2003.
[…]Power expert Tom Adams may know more about this subject than any other living being. And he’s steamed. Ontario’s rates, he says, have already surpassed the U.S. average and are headed for European levels – “just because of public policy.”
The policy is to go all out on renewables – wind and solar– whether or not it makes sense. The province is paying sky-high rates for power it doesn’t need so we can have wind turbines marching on and on to the horizon, just like Denmark does. “Power demand has been dropping since 2005,” says Mr. Adams. In fact, we have so much excess supply that, from time to time, it threatens to crash the system. Because of this, we’re even paying the neighbours to take the power off our hands.
“Ontario will need new power supplies in the future,” Mr. Adams says. “But why not buy it when we need it?” Instead of waiting, the power authority is signing long-term contracts at the rate of about $1-billion a week, while paying enormous premiums to attract wind and solar producers. In other words, it’s making 20-year commitments to pay stunningly high prices for power we don’t need.
On top of that, the province is building new transmission lines to nowhere while neglecting to ensure that Toronto’s hospitals and banks can keep the lights on. In July, Toronto experienced what Mr. Adams calls “Ontario’s first green blackout.” That blackout occurred because the city’s downtown core is badly underpowered. It has the weakest power system of any financial centre in the developed world.
Why haven’t we done anything about it? Because the green lobby has been campaigning for conservation, instead. And so, when the government started picking sites for transmission upgrades, it decided to build a power line up the shore of Lake Nipigon to connect remote wind turbines to Thunder Bay.
Ever since the days of Adam Beck, the father of public power in Ontario, the province’s energy policy has been linked to economic policy. The motto was reliable power at cost. Now energy policy has been entirely decoupled from economic policy and attached to the runaway train of environmental policy. Everyone in the power system knows it. But they’re so terrified to raise their hands, most of the public is still in the dark.
The Swedish retail giant IKEA announced yesterday it will invest $4.6-million to install 3,790 solar panels on three Toronto area stores, giving IKEA the electric-power-producing capacity of 960,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. According to IKEA, that’s enough electricity to power 100 homes. Amazing development. Even more amazing is the economics of this project. Under the Ontario government’s feed-in-tariff solar power scheme, IKEA will receive 71.3¢ for each kilowatt of power produced, which works out to about $6,800 a year for each of the 100 hypothetical homes. Since the average Toronto home currently pays about $1,200 for the same quantity of electricity, that implies that IKEA is being overpaid by $5,400 per home equivalent.
Welcome to the wonderful world of green economics and the magical business of carbon emission reduction. Each year, IKEA will receive $684,408 under Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green energy monster — for power that today retails for about $115,000. At that rate, IKEA will recoup $4.6-million in less than seven years — not bad for an investment that can be amortized over 20.
No wonder solar power is such a hot industry. No wonder, too, that the province of Ontario is in a headlong rush into a likely economic crisis brought on by skyrocketing electricity prices. To make up the money paid to IKEA to promote itself as a carbon-free zone, Ontario consumers and industries are on their way to experiencing the highest electricity rates in North America, if not most of the world.
The government’s regulator, the Ontario Energy Board, has prepared secret forecasts of how much Ontario consumers are going to have to pay for electricity over the next five years. The government won’t allow the report to be released. The next best estimate comes from Aegent Energy Advisors Inc., in a study it did for the Canadian Manufactures and Exporters group. Residential rates are expected to jump by 60% between 2010 and 2015. Industrial customers will be looking at a 55% increase.
Going back to 2003, based on numbers dug up by consultant Tom Adams, the price of residential electricity in Ontario hovered around 8.5¢ a kWh in 2003 — the first year of the McGuinty Liberal regime. By 2015, Aegent Energy estimates the price will be up to 21¢, an increase of 135%. Doubling the price of electricity in a decade is no way to spur growth and investment. In this age of global economic competition IKEA may end up with fewer sales of its Billy bookshelves in Toronto because its customers will be bogged down with soaring power bills and a sliding economy.
A $200-million wind farm in northern New Brunswick is frozen solid, cutting off a potential supply of renewable energy for NB Power.
The 25-kilometre stretch of wind turbines, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst, N.B. has been completely shutdown for several weeks due to heavy ice covering the blades.
[…]Wintery conditions also temporarily shutdown the site last winter, just months after its completion. Some or all of the turbines were offline for several days, with “particularly severe icing” blamed.
The accumulated ice alters the aerodynamics of the blades, rendering them ineffective as airfoils. The added weight further immobilizes the structures.
[…]Melissa Morton, a spokeswoman for the utility, says the contract isn’t based on power delivered during a specific period, but rather on an annual basis.
“Our hopes is that it will balance out over the 12-month period and, historically, that has been the case.”
Despite running into problems in consecutive winters, Ms. Morton says NB Power doesn’t have concerns about the reliability of the supply from the Caribou Mountain site.
And messing with energy production doesn’t just hurt consumers, it hurts businesses who have to pay more for electricity. They deal with those additional costs by laying off workers and raising the prices of their goods and services. These alternative energy sources simply to not work as well (YET) as current methods of generating power, and it costs a lot of taxpayer money to experiment with them. This is real money folks – YOUR MONEY.
The Wall Street Journal has more on the economic effects of cap-and-trade laws. Even with a Democrat-run House, a Democrat-run Senate, and a Democrat president, the anti-business left was not able to get the cap-and-trade carbon tax passed in the United States. Everybody, including Democrats, knew that a tax on energy production will cost the energy sector jobs, and raise prices on consumer energy.
The Liberal government had forecast a small surplus earlier in the year, but a worsening North American economy led to a $700 million deficit before Rae took office. In October, the NDP projected a $2.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 1991. Some economists projected soaring deficits for the upcoming years, even if the Rae government implemented austerity measures. Rae himself was critical of the Bank of Canada’s high interest rate policy, arguing that it would lead to increased unemployment throughout the country. He also criticized the 1991 federal budget, arguing the Finance Minister Michael Wilson was shifting the federal debt to the provinces.
The Rae government’s first budget, introduced in 1991, increased social spending to mitigate the economic slowdown and projected a record deficit of $9.1 billion. Finance Minister Floyd Laughren argued that Ontario made a decision to target the effects of the recession rather than the deficit, and said that the budget would create or protect 70,000 jobs. It targeted more money to social assistance, social housing and child benefits, and raised taxes for high-income earners while lowering rates for 700,000 low-income Ontarians.
A few years later, journalist Thomas Walkom described the budget as following a Keynesian orthodoxy, spending money in the public sector to stimulate employment and productivity. Unfortunately, it did not achieve its stated purpose. The recession was still severe. Walkom described the budget as “the worst of both worlds”, angering the business community but not doing enough to provide for public relief.
[…]Rae’s government attempted to introduce a variety of socially progressive measures during its time in office, though its success in this field was mixed. In 1994, the government introduced legislation, Bill 167, which would have provided for same-sex partnership benefits in the province. At the time, this legislation was seen as a revolutionary step forward for same-sex recognition.
[…]The Rae government established an employment equity commission in 1991, and two years later introduced affirmative action to improve the numbers of women, non-whites, aboriginals and disabled persons working in the public sector.
[…]In November 1990, the Rae government announced that it would restrict most rent increases to 4.6% for the present year and 5.4% for 1991. The provisions for 1990 were made retroactive. Tenants’ groups supported these changes, while landlord representatives were generally opposed.
Be careful who you vote for, Canada. We voted for Obama, and now we have a 14.5 trillion dollar debt and a 1.65 trillion deficit – TEN TIMES the last Republican budget deficit of 160 billion under George W. Bush in 2007. TEN TIMES WORSE THAN BUSH.