Tags: Building Strong Communities , Protecting the Environment , Supporting Families

Posted on Jul 27, 2016

Our Climate Leadership Plan

Written by Danielle Larivee, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake. First published in Slave Lake Lakeside Leader on July 27, 2016.

Lesser Slave Lake is home to some of the strongest and most resilient people in the world. We deal on a daily basis with the challenges of living in isolated communities and we have survived wildfires, flooding, and droughts. We have taken on the challenge of settling in the north and have developed thriving agriculture, forestry, and oil and gas industries. When the people of the north are faced with a challenge, we find solutions. 

Our challenge is to move our economy and our lifestyle away from carbon-based energy while still using and needing that energy and the infrastructure built up around it for many years to come.

All of us are facing one of those challenges now. We live in a part of the world that is heavily dependent on oil and gas, both as a driver of the economy and as part of our infrastructure. We use petroleum to run our vehicles, natural gas to heat our homes and coal to generate electricity. All that fossil fuel we use comes with a cost. That cost is pollution, and more carbon released into our atmosphere. It is not sustainable. So, our challenge is to move our economy and our lifestyle away from carbon-based energy while still using and needing that energy and the infrastructure built up around it for many years to come. 

The Climate Leadership Plan our government proposes will use a carbon levy, a price on pollution, to fund investment in a more sustainable future. It will take many years. The oil and gas industry will play a huge part in our economy and lives for many years to come. It will still be here to generate wealth and jobs, and will be part of a diverse and robust energy economy. Coal, however, is one of the worst sources of pollution in the province, and it is time to stop generating electricity with it. 

As we go through this transition, the full cost of the carbon levy will be rebated to low-and middle- income families. Six out of 10 Alberta families will receive cash rebates before they start paying the price of the levy. Marked fuel for agriculture will be exempted to support this important industry. Our government is also working tremendously hard to improve our relationship with Alberta‘s First Nations and Métis communities. Throughout this transition we will ensure that they are heard, considered, respected, and fully part of the process. 

Revenue remaining after rebates will be invested into economic diversification and green technology. This will create a sustainable future for all of us, with less pollution and a cleaner and healthier environment for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. 

When we introduced the Climate Leadership Plan, we stood side by side with environmental groups, industry and Indigenous Albertans who confidently stated that this made-in-Alberta solution was the best way forward for our province. That is a symbol of how we plan to move ahead with the climate levy. Everyone will benefit; everyone will work together. This is a solution that I am immensely proud of, and which will move our province forward in a responsible, inclusive and fair way.