During last week’s late night legislative marathon, Wildrose MLA Ron Orr proposed an amendment to the carbon tax that would spare locomotive diesel from the new levy. Like all the other common sense amendments to the carbon tax, it was unceremoniously shot down.
But there is a deeper motive for hiking rail fuel taxes other than sparing us all from a scorched earth climate apocalypse.
The railway is another oil pipeline. It’s an above ground pipeline that runs all across Alberta and across the country. Oil by rail helps take the pressure off those other stalled out pipeline projects Rachel Notley spent years and years building opposition to. In fact, oil by rail has increased from just over 9,000 cars per year in 2013 to 12,000 cars in 2015, a 30% increase in just 2 years.
So Notley went on the attack.
Her first attack on oil by rail came back in her inaugural budget in October 2015. Rachel Notley hiked the provincial fuel tax on locomotive rail diesel from 1.5 cents per litre to 5.5 cents. Now, on top of that increase, the carbon tax will add another 6 cents per litre in 2017 and another 9 cents per litre in the following year. Notley is trying to price the oil by rail pipeline out of existence.
And there are always unintended consequences for everyone else while Rachel Notley continues her attacks on the oil and gas industry. With the increased costs of shipping, she’s hurting Alberta’s embattled farmers, lumber industry and exporters who rely on the railroad to get their products to market.
We are all just collateral damage on Notley’s war on oil and gas.