Bill 20, the NDP’s carbon tax has passed the amendment stage of the legislative process and it remains largely unchanged.
The NDP shot down some passionate attempts by the opposition parties to make this catastrophic tax on everything a little less painful for Albertans. One amendment in particular was brought forward by Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt. It was called Amendment 3 and it should have passed with flying colours. The amendment sought to exempt charities from having to pay the carbon tax.
Pitt was trying to mitigate the damage to Alberta charities and struggling Alberta families who are relying on these charities in the worst economic downturn in a generation. Now those overburdened Alberta charities are about see an added operational cost for heating, travel, groceries and electricity. Food banks all across the province are bending under the strain of increased demand with some, like the one in Fort Mac, seeing a nearly 75% increase in demand year over year. Charities are also seeing fewer cash donations, and the dollars they do receive, won’t go as far as they used to. Oxford House, a charity that helps recovering addicts live independently, even says they will have to lose a bed space in one of their three houses to offset the carbon tax.
These are real Albertans poised to be hurt by the carbon tax. They’re hungry families, women and children in need of shelter, homeless people and recovering addicts.
But the NDP would not support Amendment 3. Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, the architect of the carbon tax says that Alberta charities can offset their increased operations costs by finding efficiencies. She said an exemption would also create too much administrative burden.
Has Phillips ever been to a food bank? They’re mostly volunteer run, and they take costs very seriously because they are committed to feeding as many hungry people as humanly possible. They already keep costs low. They aren’t leaving all the lights on and the fridge doors ajar when they go home from work every night.
When the NDP voted down Angela Pitt’s amendment, they voted for taking food out of the mouths of struggling families and for making running food banks and Meals on Wheels more expensive. Every charity in Alberta, including the Red Cross and those working to help rebuild fire ravaged Fort Mac, will have less money to direct to “on the ground” efforts because of the NDP.
The NDP like to paint themselves as the party that helps the poor and the afflicted, that they’re self styled advocates for the vulnerable like NDP MLA Marie Renaud says she is.
We all just saw who really cares about the impact of the carbon tax on the poor and it was us mean old conservatives.