The UCP may be a different party, but its policy document shows it’s peddling the same old … stuff

Posted on January 12, 2018, 1:45 am
10 mins

PHOTOS: Among other things, the aspirational UCP policy document would have you believe the party could balance environmental protection and the wants of recreational vehicle users if it were the government. What do you think that means? (Photo, for illustrative purposes only, grabbed from SHERP ATV.) Below: Alberta premiers Rachel Notley and Peter Lougheed (Photos: Government of Alberta), and aspirational premier Jason Kenney. There’s a whole lot of aspirin’ goin’ on!

Different party, same … stuff.

If the United Conservative Party policy document that surfaced on Wednesday shows anything, it’s that not much has changed on the right fringe of Alberta’s conservative movement practically since the days of Social Credit.

Except, of course, that with Jason Kenney running the so-called UCP the loony right isn’t the fringe any more. It’s about all that’s left!

Seriously, the largest party of the right is now Wildrose 2.0. Unless someone like Stephen Mandel can actually turn the Alberta Party into Progressive Conservative 2.0, that is.

“Member Policy Declaration, Constitutional Document 2, V 1.0,” which came to the attention of the public on Wednesday, combines three principal kinds of policies:

  1. Anodyne platitudes hard for anyone to disagree with
  2. Bones tossed to social conservative and rural special interest factions in the UCP
  3. The policy wet dreams of corporations, wealthy individuals and far-right lobby groups

Naturally, a party spokesperson insisted the document is intended only to begin debate within the party on its platform. Nevertheless, so many of the ideas in it reflect the views of the pro-market hardliners within the old Wildrose party as well as right-wing business and lobby groups, anti-union agitators and anti-tax AstroTurf groups that have historically influenced conservative political policy in Alberta, it’s hard to imagine the UCP really ever putting much of this on the back burner for long.

The document is profoundly aspirational in the sense its goals depend on the same old elephant in the room that looms over all discussions of Alberta fiscal policy: It’s basically impossible to implement unless the price of petroleum resources goes up, goes up fast, and goes up a lot.

In other words, not much has changed in the key policy approach taken by all Alberta governments, and that includes the NDP when it comes to the spending and revenue file, since Peter Lougheed retired as premier and departed for Calgary in 1985.

Anyone who imagines the vast spending on rural programs proposed here, for example, can be done in the absence of higher resource prices without raising taxes is simply delusional. Yet the UPC policy document proposes combining huge tax cuts with expensive policy proposals for favoured interest groups. The feasibility of this idea, the promises of voodoo economics notwithstanding, can be summed up in three words: No. Can. Do.

Without higher oil prices or higher taxes, you simply cannot square this circle.

So in that sense, since the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley at least recognizes this reality, it has become the closest thing to a genuine conservative party in Alberta.

Speaking of being aspirational, the document is also rich in the constitutional claptrap favoured by the Wildrose fringe and its ideological predecessors: By implication, a federal Triple-E Senate in Ottawa; a referendum on the Canadian equalization program; a special Alberta commission to report on federal finances, and so on.

Anodyne platitudes like “addressing the opioid crisis” predominate in the 21-page policy document, though, and there are too many to list.

All you really need to know is that in most cases they have one thing in common: They’re already happening. They were either implemented by the current NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley, or by previous Progressive Conservative governments led by premiers Lougheed, Don Getty, Ralph Klein, Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford, Dave Hancock and Jim Prentice and continued by the NDP.

Some, like “achieve greenhouse gas objectives without embracing taxation” and “implement a deregulated market based-based pricing regime that both secures uninterrupted supply and smooths demand cycles,” however, are simply fantasies intended to gull the uninformed. How is this supposed to happen? Regulation? Oh, wait … the UCP opposes “red tape” too.

I have listed a few of the more dangerous, ideologically motivated, or plain nutty policy ideas below. Readers are encouraged to read the document for themselves and reach their own conclusions.

  • Bringing back Ralph Klein’s unconstitutional and wasteful “Senator in Waiting” elections during provincial elections. (Page 2)
  • Eliminating defined-benefit public sector pension plans as sop to the investment industry and AstroTurf lobbies like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to solve an unfunded liability problem that’s already been fixed by plan members and employers. (Page 2)
  • Returning to Mr. Klein’s “debt free” fantasy, thereby creating a huge and expensive infrastructure debt. (Page 3)
  • Restoring Alberta’s 10-per-cent flat tax, benefitting only the very rich. (Page 3)
  • Cutting business tax and eliminating the carbon tax and small business tax in the name of ensuring Alberta is the lowest-tax jurisdiction in Canada – which it already is. (Page 3)
  • Balancing the province’s consolidated budget by the end of a UCP Government’s first term, thereby hurting the economy and laying waste to government services. (Page 3)
  • Extending “school choice” to every student across the province. Vouchers, anyone? (Page 6)
  • “Devolve decision making to individual schools rather than school boards” … creation science here we come! (Page 6)
  • “Align the funding of university degree programs to according to anticipated skills demand” – thereby subsidizing industry and ringing the death knell for the arts. (Page 7)
  • Passing a law to let post-secondary students opt out of student association membership, defunding the well-known progressive tendencies of student groups in the name of “freedom.” (Page 7)
  • Only spending money on environmental programs “that will have the greatest environmental impact.” Say what? (Page 8)
  • “Balancing” environmental protection with recreational opportunities – you know, letting the ATVs go wherever they want. (Page 8)
  • “Maintain the independence of our energy regulators from political interference” – thus ensuring the capture of government by commercial interests continues apace. (Page 10)
  • “Facilitate pipelines,” yadda-yadda. (Page 10 and elsewhere)
  • “Remove the 100-megaton cap on oilsands production and the associated 10-megaton cap on upgrading.” How does this fit into facilitating pipelines, again? (Page 10)
  • Increasing regional autonomy and local decision-making in Alberta Health Services, another perennially favourite terrible Wildrose idea. (Page 13)
  • “Allow for publicly funded, privately delivered health services to improve deliver efficiency and lower costs.” Sounds good, except that we know from economic analysis and experience that such privatization policies have the opposite effect to that promised. (Page 13)
  • “Allow for privately funded, privately delivered health care services to address excessive wait times.” Ditto. (Page 13)
  • Banning municipal operational deficits – thereby ensuring urban decay. But who cares? The Wildrose 2.0 doesn’t really believe worthy people live in big cities! (Page 18)
  • Making municipal spending illegal on “projects that are clearly provincial or federal jurisdiction” – you know, like mitigating poverty among citizens abandoned by tax-cutting neoliberals in Ottawa and Edmonton. (Page 18)
  • Holding an expensive provincial constitutional referendum calling for the removal of the equalization program from the federal constitution, another hardy Wildrose perennial. Just be careful what you wish for! (Page 19)
  • Establishing a commission to examine and report on the finances of the federation. Essay question: Would the Lieutenant Governor sign such ultra vires legislation? (Page 19)
  • Repealing the constitutional right of farm workers to join a union, and eliminate their health and safety protections while they’re at it. (Page 20)
  • Making union organization harder and decertification easier, in the name of “democratic rights.” (Page 20)
  • Appointing a “Chief Firearms Officer.” To do what? Make machine gun ownership easier? Impinge on federal jurisdiction? (Page 21)

Readers will get the general idea from these highlights.

You have to admit, though, that the bit about building a province rich in arts and culture is nice. No nudes, though. And no college courses about them.

28 Comments to: The UCP may be a different party, but its policy document shows it’s peddling the same old … stuff

  1. Rocky

    January 12th, 2018

    Some of the omissions are as interesting as the inclusions. Not a word about rolling back the minimum wage.

    Reply
    • Mohamed Mahdi

      January 12th, 2018

      Kenney has said multiple times in the past that it is a very bad idea to roll back people’s wages. A policy that roll back people’s wages like that is never going to appear in any official UCP document. Anyway, speaking of that framework document it really seems that a lot of stuff in that document is really unoriginal and consists of a lot of things the Alberta PC’s attempt to implement, never implement and etc along with policy taking from other parties like the former wildrose,ndp and etc like mentioned in this article. I know it’s quite hard for a new politicial party to come up with original policy proposals on the fly and that this is a draft piece but I expected more orginal things in that document then ideas taken from the GOP and various Alberta political parties. Also that framework has a lot of policies tailored towards the rich and wealthy. The reintroduction of the flat tax is also a dumb idea.

      Reply
      • Northern Loon

        January 12th, 2018

        They could always limit the application of minimum wage to, let’s say employees over the age of 21, or those who have at least 5 years of employment history (workers with less than 5 years experience are still being trained), or who are Canadian citizens (here come the TFW’s). Or perhaps they would consider a regional application, so minimum wage only applies in cities?

        The UCP could promise to ‘improve’ employment standards and then introduce any or all of the above and claim that they didn’t have to include it in their policies before an election.

        In any case Rocky is right that the omissions are telling.

        Reply
  2. J.E. Molnar

    January 12th, 2018

    If back-to-the-future conservatism by the UCP is the answer. The question must be: “How far back is the UCP Time Machine willing to go to completely return to Middle Earth (AKA Toryland)?”

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that the NDP’s chances of electoral success in 2019 improve every single day as the UCP keeps tossing grenades on themselves. Between the countless and continuing bozo-eruptions and its embarrassing myopic policy platform document, the UCP keeps blowing itself up with jaw-dropping regularity . No complaints here.

    Reply
  3. Magda

    January 12th, 2018

    That local decision making for Alberta Health Services is a ploy to ban abortions and contraception availability, right? For a guy who’s never intercoursed with anything, Kenney sure likes to fool around with other peoples’ health.

    Reply
    • Murphy

      January 14th, 2018

      I have my doubts about your claim regarding Kenney’s CV. And I shudder to think.

      Reply
  4. Bedoich

    January 12th, 2018

    Sounds like Heaven on Earth. Or maybe just the Utopian society we had just a few years ago. It’s hard to believe they would find this old (poorly rehashed) “stuff” compelling, and that they’re trying to push their health care, school, pension etc “stuff” this early in the game as well. I thought Kenney is supposed to be a veteran politician? That said, he’s already throwing lifelines to shore. 10/10 for bloviation though!

    Reply
  5. Reynold Reimer

    January 12th, 2018

    Last night my wife and I attended Progress Alberta’s session on how progressives can prevail in the 2019 election. It was very encouraging. I encourage everyone to join the mailing list at http://www.progressalberta.ca and get involved.

    Reply
  6. Anon

    January 12th, 2018

    “Banning municipal operational deficits”
    Thinking of our small town council, past and present (overwhelmingly WR or Tory), that would be a good thing. They borrow enough for “capital projects” like hiring “branding” consultants.

    Reply
  7. David

    January 12th, 2018

    Right after Kenney won the UCP leadership a few of the party’s communications people went around saying he would actually be quite moderate. Given this recent policy discussion, maybe they decided no one was buying it and just stopped pretending or maybe Kenney heard them and told them can it. I don’t think he considers the word moderate a compliment.

    In any event, the current policy discussion from the UCP does seem to have become unabashedly quite right wing (flat tax, more private health care) with a dash of social conservatism (ie. increased funding for private/home schooling). It is as one columnist pointed out, basically a return to Ralph’s world, except of course this time without Klein who a lot of voters actually liked and seemed to be able to sell some of it. Klein managed to slip in flat taxes at a considerable cost to the Treasury, but hey at the time the economy was booming and there was a surplus, so a lot of people didn’t really notice it or feel negatively affected by it. However, he didn’t do so well with his “third way” privatization push for health care.

    There hasn’t been a very right wing Premier since Klein and the PC ones before him were not as right wing either. I think there is a myth of Alberta being quite right wing that the UCP types like to try perpetuate. Perhaps it was Klein, not the Premiers before or after him, that was the aberration.

    I think Kenney almost seems to want to be more right wing than Wildrose, which under Jean and Smith did from time to time sound moderate, even if the members sometimes didn’t want to go along. As I recall one of the reasons for Wildrose merging with the PC’s was it was felt people perceived Wildrose to be too extreme to vote for. Kenney seems to have taken over the PC’s in name only and it does not seem to have moderated the UCP at all. I think voters will soon realize the UCP is as extreme as Wildrose perhaps even more. I suppose after that happens, perhaps Kenney can try merge the UCP with say the Alberta Party to try fool everyone once more for a while again.

    Reply
  8. Farmer Brian

    January 13th, 2018

    An tax related article I found very interesting this week was in the Vancouver Sun business section: “Latest figures show B.C.’s carbon emissions continue to increase” by Gordon Hoekstra. B.C. has had a carbon tax longer than any other province in Canada and its carbon tax has been held up as an example by proponents as a tax that lowered emissions as economic growth continued. First off if you look at a historical graph of C02 emissions in B.C. you will notice the largest decrease was the year 2008 which was the year of the economic recession in Canada. You will also notice as the economy starts to grow in 2011 emissions start to increase again. In the article it also says the government must get more aggressive with taxes and regulations so that emissions can be lowered. It is my opinion that in our northern climate the only way to lower emissions is to stop economic growth which is just what will happen as the carbon tax reach $50 a tonne of C02 equivelent and beyond.

    Now, proposals by the UCP.
    First off the flat tax, not sure why they are going back to this idea. While there is no doubt that a person earning $100000 pays more total tax at 10% than someone earning $40000 there is a $15 billion dollar hole to fill in the provinces balance sheet and unfortunately lowering taxes won’t help. Having said that up to this point the Alberta NDP’s corporate and personal tax increases continue to bring in less revenue than before the recession. I think 3 rates of 10-12-14% are appropriate.
    I do think that educational funding should follow the child, countries like Denmark do this quite successfully but I don’t believe a home schooled child should recieve full funding as their costs and overhead would be much lower.

    The unfortunate thing is that the only political party in Alberta mentioning a sales tax is the Alberta party. A $15 billion dollar hole cannot be eliminated with cuts in spending on their own. Improvement to Alberta’s balance sheet will require prudent control on spending and undoubtably an increase in revenue, a sales tax is the most practical way. The NDP says they will not implement a sales tax but they implemented a C02 tax without consulting Albertan’s so I certainly don’t believe a word they say.

    Reply
    • January 14th, 2018

      Brian, the need for a sales tax is something you and I both strongly agree on. The question is, how to bring it in? As you suggest, the ideal way would be for a party to include a sales tax in their campaign platform, convince voters it is necessary, then win the election and implement the sales tax with the mandate they are given. I really can’t see that happening.

      What, then, would you consider second best: a government sneaking in a PST without a mandate, or struggle on with no PST, hoping for another oil boom?

      Correct me if I am wrong, and I know you will, but the only mention of a sales tax I can recall the Alberta Party making was in the previous version of the party with Greg Clark as leader. At the time Mr. Clark’s best case scenario was to take 2 or 3 elections to grow his party into a significant prsence. Now that the UCP has made the Alberta Party an instant contender, I suspect we will hear no more about a sales tax. I also expect at some point the UCP will begin to target the AP and bring up the whole PST promise/threat. At that point I assume the AP will also promise no PST.

      The sad thing is I don’t think any party will ever have the courage to bring in a PST. There is a reason it is nick named Political Suicide Tax, and Brian Mulroney can tell you how that works out. The sad thing is that with the revenue from Mulroney’s GST, the Chretien Liberals were able to run surpluses for several years. Stephen Harper reduced the GST and we haven’t seen a balanced budget since.

      Reply
      • Farmer Brian

        January 14th, 2018

        What is second best? That is certainly the question. Your first suggestion, sneaking in a PST. At present I believe there is a law that before a sales tax can be implemented a referendum must be held(correct me if I am wrong), so a law change would be required first and yes it would be political suicide. Second suggestion, waiting for another oil boom to balance the budget. If I remember correctly during the last boom we were running a deficit but we had a savings account that was drawn down to cover this up. At present there is not the political will in Alberta for a sales tax nor is there a political force that could create this will in Alberta. I am afraid that Alberta’s financial situation will continue to worsen until we are forced to change course.

        I never did agree with Harper lowering the GST, his government’s financial performance would have been much better if he had left it alone.

        Reply
    • January 14th, 2018

      With regards to the BC carbon tax, were those emission increases total increases or per capita increases? Although BC has not seen the population growth Alberta has, it has seen a noticable increase. Thus it isn’t hard to imagine a per capita emission decrease of 5% being offset by a population increase of 10% (both numbers made up for example purposes)

      Reply
    • January 14th, 2018

      Finally, on the topic of school funding, I can see how money following the child would work in Denmark, where there strong social inclination would make sure public schools remain adequately funded. My concern is the possibility we wind up with an American model where public schools are, in places, grossly underfunded.

      Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      January 14th, 2018

      Regarding school funding following the child…if we do that, why not, say, have law and order funding follow the citizen so that we can drastically reduce the expensive police force…after all, there are more than enough private security companies around who would probably do the job for a lot cheaper. Of course, any politician suggesting that would be laughed out of town. In other words, school deregulations schemes are about ideology more than about saving money or providing ‘choice’.

      Reply
  9. Scotty on Denman

    January 13th, 2018

    Only some of my comrades get this: the distance between the NDP and Tory conservatism is not that much. Class distinction is the only distinction. When ‘middle class’ and ‘working class’ and ‘business class’ weren’t really all that different, extremists and ideologues in either party groused there was. Given both had their fringes, their respective shiftings, right and left, should have been familiar to each: irritating to the irritable, irritated and irritating rumps on each of their butts.

    That the Alberta NDP could successfully occupy ground abandoned by the moribund conservatives is illustrative. It would appear the hemorrhoids of the left have been soothed, whereas the ones on the right have commandeered the whole cadaver of conservatism, a single eyeball occasionally winking out of the irascible inflammation.

    How otherwise could orphaned conservatives of the moderate persuasion have such a moderating effect on adopted socialists?

    Reply
    • Kang the otherwise Barbarous

      January 13th, 2018

      Dear Scotty on some soggy remote island, probably in the way of our bitumen pipe, and pipe dreams of prosperity:

      So I can see, every day, that there is only a cigarette paper’s difference between the Ab NDP and Progressive Conservatives. If I understand your metaphor (or is that a simile?) that makes me an irritable left wing hemorrhoid. But I’m not very soothed if that is the case.

      Since just 8 people now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population are you saying the relative distinction between classes has disappeared or are you saying there is now little absolute distinction between classes? If the former proposition, I agree, if the latter both I, and the Koch Bros. would disagree. (or perhaps this question is too clever by half?)

      However, unlike the Brothers K, I do not have control of the biggest pipeline (wink, wink) out of Alberta – which may explain why they are so rich and where the discount on Western Canada Select really happens. Of course Lougheed would never have tolerated such a situation, so maybe the difference between Lougheed and the NDP is greater than many remember.

      As to that blinking red eye between my side and the UCP bunch, after several decades of providing obstetrical assistance to cows, I can assure you that blinking red eye looks more UCP than NDP.

      With the exception of this one, I always find your comments insightful, useful, and interesting. Just sign me perplexed but hopefully not obdurate.

      Reply
  10. January 14th, 2018

    Such a huge document produces a large number of thoughts.

    1. On page 4, under the subject of democracy, it says MLAs will be free to vote as they wish, except for budget and non-confidence votes. Had this been in place a few months ago would Leela Aheer and a few others really been free to vote with the government, and against Jason Kenney, on the GSA bill?

    2. On page 6 the UCP calls for all schools to have the same curriculum freedom currently enjoyed by charter schools. This is definitely a say-nothing policy. As a former charter school teacher, I can definitely report that charter schools follow the same curriculum as the rest of the province. Not only did we teach from the Alberta Program of Studies, our students’ results from the provincial achievement tests (which were based on the PoS) were used to consider our school’s charter renewal every 5 years.

    (My hunch is that American charter schools are different, and they do have ‘curriculum freedom’ but when the Klein government set up charter schools they knew better than to go that crazy, so they just created a pseudo charter school system to satisfy their alt-right fringe)

    3. What about coal? On page 8, under environment, they call for the use of low emission fuels, then on page 10 they include coal as one of the energy sources they intend to embrace, and later on that page they embrace consumer choice for the fuel source of their electricity.

    4. Finally, if you haven’t read it yet, when you read it watch for how often an increase in funding is promised or implied. It is hard to imagine how they can increase funding, lower taxes and eliminate a $10 billion dollar deficit.

    Reply
    • Farmer Brian

      January 14th, 2018

      Bob, I always enjoy your posts. You bring up coal so I am very interested in your thoughts on electrical generation.
      Here are mine. If I understand the NDP they believe renewable energy can replace coal electrical generation. He is my outlook on this. The Alberta Electrical System operator(AESO) has a wonderful website that includes a “current supply and demand” report which provides up to the minute electrical generation from all sources in Alberta and also current usage. In Alberta there is presently 20 wind farms with a total generation capacity of 1445 MW(megawatts). This is presently about 8.8% of our total generation capacity. The power generated at various times today from wind varied between 70 MW and 116 MW or from between 5 to 8% of generation capacity. This evening our power usage was 10180 MW. So at 116 MW wind was supplying about 1.1% of our needs. Hydro our other renewable energy source in Alberta was supplying about 300 MW or just under 3% of our needs. Now let’s pretend we had 16000 MW of wind generation capacity(current total generation capacity from all sources in Alberta is 16400 MW). Today at highest generation efficiency of 8% this hypothetical wind capacity of 16000 MW would only produce 1280 MW or 12.5% of our current needs. Lot of numbers I realize. So here is my question, without coal and understanding the obvious limitations of renewable energy how do you propose that our electricity be generated?

      Here are my thoughts. The biggest problem I have is renewables are being promoted as the replacement for coal. This is my belief of reality. The reality is this, without coal our electricity in Alberta is going to come from Natural gas, topped up with intermittent supplies from renewables when the weather conditions are favourable. Now no doubt many will disagree with me and many will argue that battery technology has advanced enough to store energy at an affordable price. All I know from the pricing I have done in regards to present battery technology flood acid batteries are the cheapest and tesla’s powerall is twice the cost and niether are affordable or practical to power my farm with an off-grid solar system. I will support government policy in regards to renewables when they promote what the actual intermittent abilities are!

      Reply
      • anon

        January 15th, 2018

        As I understand it, the generators who want access to the grid have to bid for it. Usually the wind people are under-bid by nat gas. At a hundred feet above the ground the wind is almost continuous BTW.

        So what is wrong with natural gas? A lot of those generators are co-gens using waste heat (U of C Library for example).

        On my power bill the biggest cost is the cost of having the grid in place. Usually the electricity itself is less than 10% of total cost.

        So there will never be a shortage of cheap electricity, the real cost comes from the overbuilt grid the Cons left us.

        And when the Site C dam on the Peace starts producing (thanks to the BC NDP) there will be even more electricity looking for a home.

        Reply
        • Farmer Brian

          January 16th, 2018

          On Jan. 1 when a chinook was blowing into Alberta the wind turbines were putting out around 1000 MW but 3 days earlier when the air mass was still, these same turbines were putting out 4 MW of electricity. If I read your response correctly Anon you believe the reason for the difference in wind output is because natural gas and coal came in cheaper that day, is that correct?

          There is nothing wrong with natural gas, the problem I have is that the present Alberta government is promoting renewables as the replacement for coal. The real replacement for coal fired electricity generation in Alberta will be natural gas with intermittent supply coming fron renewables, big difference.

          As for Site C, the NDP was always against it being built I believe, the only reason they backed continued construction was too much had been invested to stop now.

          I certainly agree, the largest part of my electricity bill is distribution and transmission, there was certainly bad decisions made in regards to power line construction, unfortunately you can’t change the past but you can try to learn from it and change what you do in the future.

          Reply
          • Anon

            January 16th, 2018

            Yes, FB, the wind people are often unsuccessful in getting their output on the grid. The AESO reason is that their bids are too high relative to nat gas etc. It is debatable if the AESO is truly impartial. But set that aside, we all know the regulatory system in Alberta is absolutely fair and impartial and we are all looking forward to the Easter Bunny as well.

            However, as anyone who has done high tower work can tell you, once you are 80 feet above the ground, it is a very unusual day for the air to be totally still. If you stand next to a double circuit 240 kV tower you can hear the wind in the ground wires 120 feet above the ground on almost all days.

            The other point about wind is that it is connected to a grid and the wind is always blowing somewhere in the Province. The new 600 mega watts that AESO has contracted for from wind has come in at under 4 cents a kwh. So yes, coal’s days are numbered and over the next couple of decades will be killed off by nat gas, wind, and solar photovoltaic.

            I would also contend that the generators scabbing waste heat to produce electricity, like the U of C Library I gave as an example, are a form of renewable energy. Perhaps not a perfect carbon off-set, but we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

      • January 16th, 2018

        Hey Brian,

        My vision is not that different from yours, but with more optimism for renewables.

        First, technology can help with reducing demand; we have already seen that with LEDs. My old Christmas lights used 7W bulbs i.e. each bulb used 7 watts. With my new LED strings, the entire string uses only 4 watts. This is why I am so supportive of the government’s program of using carbon tax revenue to subsidize the purchase of LED bulbs. Likewise getting people to use timers when they plug their cars in will allow block heaters to run only for the couple of hours they are needed, rather than all night. That said, it is also possible electric cars will increase the need.

        On the generation front, like you described, we need to use gas instead of coal when renewables are not able to meet demand. Realistically, this time of year is when we are going to have the biggest generation deficit. Peoples’ lights are on the longest and they use electric heat for a variety of reasons, while at the same time the insipid January sun does little for solar panels. As a result, December/January will be when the most pessimistic numbers for renewable electricity will occur, and we will need gas powered generation.

        A few weeks ago you mentioned the results of your investigation to take your farm off the grid, and power storage problems you would have. Fortunately ‘the grid’ creates some amount of flexibility for generation that does not exist for an individual user. The week between Christmas and New Year’s that you reported being calm, we had enough wind to produce a brutal wind chill, so any excess power not-yet-built wind farms in the Edmonton area could have sent excess power elsewhere.

        So, yes, my vision is pretty much as you describe, except instead of describing it as gas generation topped up with renewable when weather conditions are favourable, I would put it as renewable generation topped up with gas when weather conditions are not favourable. It just doesn’t make sense to burn coal when sun, wind and hydro will produce power for us with significantly less environmental degradation.

        Reply
  11. brett

    January 14th, 2018

    Is there anyone out there who really believes that that MLA’s will be free to vote as they wish….notwithstanding page four???? IF so, you a dreaming in technicolor.

    Kenny will follow the Harper method. Duct tape, rewards, and punishment. Maybe not at first, but certainly after a month or so.

    Harper’s routine was simple. Everyone gets duct tape over their mouths, Most especially those in cabinet positions.

    Not one peep is allowed from any member, in or out of the chamber, with having a set script and that script being approved by the PMO’s office. No press interviews period unless it is a ‘tame’ or a ‘house’ reporter/interviewer.

    Those who follow these rules may be rewarded. Those who break them will be punished immediately.

    Is there any reason to believe that a Kenney regime will be substantially different? That page 4 statement is a joke, far from reality, and only believed by the most naive of us.

    Reply
  12. January 15th, 2018

    21 pages and not a single whisper of a sovereign wealth fund?

    I guess I’d be embarrassed too if somebody reminded me of 40+ squandered years.

    Reply
  13. brett

    January 16th, 2018

    From my perspective, if the UCP wants to be successful they need to forget about always concerning themselves with the ‘lake of fire’ right wingers and get on with proposing real policies and measures that will truly move Alberta and Albertans forward.

    We have literally had years of the same old slogans, bowing to the same old groups, but precious little of any imaginative or effective policies. In the last election I was so tired of being suckered by their false hopes and claims that I would have voted for Woody Woodpecker if that was the only alternative. So far, I see absolutely no change with the UCP. I do not care about policy documents from the UCP members. They are meaningless and will be ignored by Kenney et al if elected just as party policy documents and statements have been in the past.

    Time for some creativity guys. Step out of that box that you are artificially trapped inside and put together a real platform with measurable goals. Otherwise you will be perceived as just another bunch of Tories looking to get themselves elected to the public trough. Make a difference and give us a real alternative.

    Reply

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