A pair of letters from opposition members of Parliament published this week have accused Alberta’s Liberal government of self-interest in its recent environmental initiatives and are suggesting the panel formed to implement an ill-conceived plan to ban coal is biased.
The opposition letter, which condemns the “partisan attitude of the Alberta Liberals”, was the first against the new provincial climate policy, adopted in late 2017. It was signed by 23 members of the Alberta legislature.
The letter is directly critical of the government’s plan to make public the cost of its carbon price, and threatens to force the government to overhaul the policy. “This dangerous legislation which benefits your political party, at the cost of the rest of Albertans,” the letter states.
Alberta’s leadership Conservatives have been opposing the plan since it was unveiled, calling it a “war on coal.” Recently, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative premier Rachel Notley abandoned her former party’s policy, calling it a “practical alternative” to coal.
The opposition letter suggests other contenders for leadership of Alberta’s PCs may follow suit. “While we understand your intent, the Alberta Liberal Party should hold back from making an unprincipled or fatal mistake,” the letter states.
The same day, another letter from 13 representatives of federal MPs was published.
A series of recent reports from Business Insider suggests the political power of Canada’s energy sector and its concerns over climate change are fuelling ongoing meetings and co-operation between U.S. conservatives and conservative energy lobbies.
The MPs pointed to power plants in the U.S. that burn dirtier fuels, like natural gas, and suggested Alberta’s coal-plant policies create an uneven playing field.
“Canada has a staggering 83 per cent dependence on coal. In comparison, the United States relies on natural gas for only 16 per cent of its electricity generation,” the letter states. “Due to Canada’s abundance of cheap natural gas and lack of renewable energy development, there are no longer any remaining coal-fired electric power plants in the U.S.”
But Canada has a “countless number of renewable energy developers,” the MPs added.
“Canadians are expressing a significant interest in renewable energy development and, more importantly, that is why business activity in the sector is expanding,” they wrote.
“Clean technologies of all types are making an ever-increasing contribution to the competitiveness of our country,” the MPs added.
A spokesperson for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the Alberta government has nothing to respond to the letters, and did not comment on the letter from Calgary MP Michael Chong.
However, the PMO said it had “decided to not review” the letter from MPs concerned about Alberta’s policies on coal.