Prairies pack a punch to Ottawa

Alberta and Saskatchewan have courageously taken a leadership role within Canada on these issues for some time, and the rest of the country owes them a debt of gratitude. Pictured: Saskatchewan Minister of Crown Investments Corporation. Photo Credit: Regina Leader-Post/Troy Fleece.

This week has been very eventful in terms of Alberta and Saskatchewan pushing back against the increasingly discredited policies of the federal Liberal government on climate issues. Earlier this week, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced that her government was suspending approvals for new “renewable” energy projects while they study issues involved with the current development rules and Alberta’s future energy needs. 

In a comprehensive policy change, Alberta will limit where wind and solar farms can be located in future, with consideration being given to preserving valuable agricultural land instead of allowing it to be covered by solar panels. There will also be a new 35-kilometre buffer zone for protected areas and so-called “pristine viewscapes.”  In other words, picturesque locations will not be permitted to be spoiled by the eyesores of wind turbines and fields of solar panels. Municipalities will also be given a say in where any new installations take place, where they did not have any ability to influence this in the past. It’s only fair that municipal governments be involved in these important decisions. 

Alberta has been a leader in installing wind and solar capacity over the last few years. In 2023, 92 per cent of Canada’s new capacity took place in Alberta, so the notion Alberta is not onside with these energy sources is simply not true. However, recent weather issues have demonstrated yet again how unreliable and intermittent wind and solar power can be. The early January cold snap in Alberta, where temperatures reached a record-breaking -50 C in some locations, the electricity grid came close to failing. This underscored how valuable it is to have reliable baseload power from sources such as nuclear and natural gas. In very cold conditions, it is typical that the wind doesn’t blow, and the sun doesn’t shine, making these energy sources virtually useless. Alberta’s geography is not conductive to hydroelectric power generation, so nuclear and natural gas are the sensible and reliable alternatives. 

In most of the media coverage of the Alberta announcement, the folks quoted were overwhelmingly those from the climate crisis movement, who strenuously opposed this decision. As most of these individuals make their living from government subsidies and the continuation of their green boondoggle, subsidized by taxpayer dollars, so their reaction was fully expected. Federal government sources were also unhappy with this development, even though it is a pragmatic decision for Alberta to make. 

As for Saskatchewan, they chose to air a video this week from the province’s crown investments corporation minister, Dustin Duncan, to announce that not only would Saskatchewan not charge carbon tax on the natural gas Saskatchewan residents use to heat their homes, but it would also not be remitting any tax to Ottawa. The initial decision to stop charging the tax was a response to the federal government creating a “carve out” for Atlantic Canada to not have to pay the carbon tax on heating oil, a heating source only prevalent in the Atlantic provinces, and one which is much less climate-friendly than natural gas. 

Shortly after the Saskatchewan announcement, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson stated they would be suspending any carbon tax rebates to Saskatchewan residents in retaliation. Despite the ongoing Liberal claim that these rebates exceed the amount of carbon tax paid for most Canadians – which has been repeatedly disproven by experts – these rebates are so miniscule I can’t imagine too many Saskatchewan residents are broken-hearted that they won’t be receiving them. Also, by this action it seems the federal Liberals have written off the possibility of obtaining any political support in Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future. It’s pretty difficult to feel any sympathy for the Liberals in this conflict, as they have mistreated Saskatchewan and Alberta for years. At this point, the feds deserve everything they’ll get from these two provinces. 

Alberta and Saskatchewan have courageously taken a leadership role within Canada on these issues for some time, and the rest of the country owes them a debt of gratitude. Whether its pursuing legal avenues to question federal legislation that impinges upon provincial jurisdiction or taking on Ottawa directly for policies that do little if anything for the climate but punish Canadians and some provinces that, notably, don’t tend to vote Liberal. The two provinces have commendably been relentless. The fact their legal actions have been successful in the courts on key jurisdictional questions has backed Ottawa off some of its harmful, poorly designed policies and demonstrated the federal Liberals’ sloppiness in understanding federal and provincial jurisdictional matters. 

The two provinces have forced the federal government to reconsider its ideological and impractical approach in a number of areas in which they arrogantly believed they would bulldoze the provinces and all Canadians without repercussions. Actions by Saskatchewan and Alberta have also made a fool of Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, something he richly deserves. It’s time other provinces got on board with this sensible agenda and shared the heavy lifting.

Your donations help us continue to deliver the news and commentary you want to read. Please consider donating today.

Donate Today


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business