After months of ignoring them, the NDP have decided that they care about keeping Alberta’s greenhouse producers competitive with other jurisdictions.
Alberta greenhouses have been sounding alarms that Rachel Notley’s new carbon tax will make them uncompetitive with regions that don’t have to use natural gas heat, have longer growing seasons and lower minimum wages. All of this prompted an eleventh hour announcement on the eve of the new carbon tax.
For the next two years, greenhouses will be able to recoup up to 80 per cent of the carbon levy, similar to what happens in BC.
Now before we have a ticker tape parade for the NDP, let’s do the math. Some greenhouse producers in Alberta will see a nearly $50,000 hike in their natural gas heating costs because of the carbon tax. An 80% rebate still leaves them with a $10,000 carbon tax bill this year.
This is like being grateful for the schoolyard bully that stole your lunch because he left you with your juice box.
The NDP had a chance to exempt greenhouses during the debate on the carbon tax way back in June of 2016 but instead, they voted against a proposed Wildrose amendment, arguing, in effect, that natural gas is cheap enough already.
All this fake tax relief is a little too late. Western Feedlots closed, citing the carbon tax and Bill 6. Hotchkiss Herbs and Produce is gone, citing the carbon tax and Bill 6. Those jobs are gone, Those businesses are gone, those local growers are gone.
The NDP should have listened to producers. But they won’t, until they're forced to listen when we vote them out in 2019.