Province committed to leadership on climate change

Written by Cam Westhead MLA for Banff-Cochrane.

First published in the Cochrane Times on June 15, 2016.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world in Banff-Cochrane. I know the citizens and municipalities here value our natural landscapes and our wilderness areas. We also occupy a key position in the headwaters that provide Calgary and Southern Alberta with water. We know how important this is, and how climate change that is melting glaciers and creating more extreme weather events impacts us all.

Six out of ten Alberta families will receive a full or partial rebate of the carbon levy they pay.

That’s why I’m proud to be part of a government that is moving forward with a Climate Leadership Plan that listens to the advice of economists and environmental experts, and places a price on the carbon we all emit. It just seems fair that we all pay according to the amount of carbon and pollution we put into the atmosphere in order to reduce our environmental footprint.

Built into the plan are rebates for low-and middle-income Albertans. Six out of ten Alberta families will receive a full or partial rebate of the carbon levy they pay.

In addition to that, every penny from the carbon levy that is not rebated will be reinvested into the economy, to help businesses, municipalities, schools and hospitals improve the energy efficiency of their operations. This will create jobs, it will help preserve our environment, and it will stimulate a new sector of the economy.

This is a direction that I’m confident Albertans support. I’m also proud of the people and municipalities of Banff-Cochrane who are already moving in that direction. For example, the towns of Banffand Canmore have solar incentive programs and the town of Banff recently adopted a policy to reduce fuel consumption for their municipal fleet. Canmore has long had anti-idling bylaws and other initiatives to reduce pollution. The town of Cochrane has many green initiatives including a sustainability committee and policies to reduce water consumption. Rocky View County has longstanding policies in place to protect riparian areas and wetlands.

The carbon levy introduced through the Climate Leadership Plan will align with the initiatives already underway in our communities. It will allow our province to move ahead in partnership with forward-looking Albertans and make significant steps to protect the beautiful environment we enjoy.

The whole world is changing. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead change in Alberta that will demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment, diversifying our economy, and protecting families and vulnerable Albertans. This is what the Climate Leadership Plan will accomplish.