Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes so many spending announcements, flying like Mary Poppins on speed around the country to distribute billions of dollars, that the news media have given up analyzing any of them.
For the heck of it, let's look back to last week, when Mr. Harper dropped into Edmonton to announce $343-million of federal money for a coal-fired TransAlta Corp. carbon-capture and storage (CCS) project. Simultaneously, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced a contribution of $436-million, for a total investment of $774-million of taxpayers' cash.
That Harper-Stelmach announcement followed an earlier Ottawa-Alberta one for a coal-fired Shell carbon storage project. In that case, the combined federal and provincial contribution was $865-million. ...
Let's be generous and assume the two projects costing $1.6-billion do in fact bury 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the most-prevalent gas contributing to global warming. Such a reduction would mean a per-tonne carbon-reduction cost of about $761 – staggeringly, wildly, mind-blowingly higher than any other conceivable measure designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. ...
While you, the Alberta taxpayer, pay C$761 per tonne of CO2 abatement, which is equivalent to 494 euros, the price per tonne in Europe has ranged between 10 and 30 euros year to date:
What has the reaction of the Stelmach government been to the Wildrose Alliance party, whose leader has denounced Stelmach's multibillion dollar carbon capture fund as a political boondoggle?
If they want to be relevant, they have to develop a long term policy strategy which speaks to a modern, compassionate, cosmopolitan Alberta and I don't think they do.
- Edmonton Whitemud MLA and Education Minister Dave Hancock
The P"C" party thus asks you to understand, dear Albertan, that you are spending billions on CO2 abatement that costs $761 a tonne because this is what "modern" and "cosmopolitan" jurisdictions do. In fact, if you looked up either word in the dictionary you would see the smiling faces of Premier Ed Stelmach, Finance Minister Iris Evans, and Energy Minister Mel Knight! Those euro types are a bunch of rubes who just fell off a turnip wagon compared to these public policy prodigies. And as for you young and unborn Albertans who will be coming of age in a jurisdiction that squandered the natural resource wealth it was once blessed with, well, that's how we, the Alberta P"C" Association, define "compassion." Now please take a seat while your august government gets back to the business of closing hospital beds and increasing class sizes!