Distributive policy

David Staples: UCP political resolutions make politics good, even if Danielle Smith doesn’t care

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Good ideas and good principles fill the pages of policy documents for the United Conservative Party’s annual general meeting this weekend, a welcome example of policy done right.

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As for poorly done politics, Premier Danielle Smith repeatedly hijacks her own leadership, not to mention Alberta’s credibility, with an unhealthy regime of right-wing partisan politics, the kind that has inflamed the small percentage of Albertans who propelled her to the premier’s chair, but leaves almost everyone cold.

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Smith makes repeated appeals to distinct special interest groups, people in rural areas, the unvaccinated and vaccine-heavy, and those who prefer Alberta sovereignty over Alberta constitutionality. In fact, she becomes a symbol of the right side of the coin of divisive and narcissistic identity politics, the flip side of which is the agenda of left-leaning special interest groups that too often grips New Democrats and Liberals.

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Heads or tails, no matter how that ill-conceived coin lands, we all often lose.

The policy documents of the UCP bring a break to this type of policy. The party has put forward a few dubious or bad ideas, but in general the emphasis is on supporting families, maintaining public order and building economic prosperity, while keeping public institutions, such as schools and hospitals, accountable, transparent and efficient. A series of sensible countermeasures to flawed leftist policies, especially regarding energy issues, are also advanced.

A UCP resolution would protect farmers from the federal government’s excesses on best farming practices.

The federal government is seeking to drastically reduce the use of fertilizers to combat climate change. It may well be that a massive reduction in fertilizers will reduce emissions somewhat, but why should a Canadian government focus on that when Canadian nuclear and LNG represent the real gains in emissions reductions?

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And, as the resolutions suggest, the benefits of modern agriculture are essential. “Modern farming practices have safely increased production to meet Alberta’s and the world’s food demand.

Another resolution raises the issue of the rising costs of transmission and distribution of electricity, mainly due to the expansion of solar and wind farms. The resolution seeks to prevent costs from skyrocketing and the energy grid from collapsing by mandating the Alberta Electric System Operator (AES0) to reject the Trudeau Liberals’ net zero electricity grid program.

The resolution references a new report from the AESO, which estimates the capital cost of the Trudeau plan to be $52 billion, with estimated increases in consumer energy costs of up to 40% by 2035.

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Another big downside? “Other jurisdictions like California, Ontario and Europe with high levels of renewables have high costs and grid reliability issues.”

Another problem with solar and wind power is the large amount of land they occupy, which is addressed by another UCP resolution that seeks to ban such energy farms from all highly productive irrigated lands in southern Alberta.

As for bad or dubious ideas, a UCP resolution charges willy-nilly into the intractable mess of Alberta’s social studies curriculum debate. He proposes banning the teaching of what left-wing advocates call “anti-racism,” but right-wing critics call “critical race theory.” It would take a column or five to sort this debate out, but suffice it to say, I’m not a fan of indoctrinating students into a political movement, but neither am I a fan of banning study and of the discussion of the great social movements.

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There is one resolution, however, that nails her on a delicate socio-political issue. It seeks to have the Alberta government continue to push for high environmental standards, but move away from a movement known as ESG, short for environment, social and governance.

ESG’s goal is to reduce investment in companies that fail to meet standards in these areas. But the ESG has recently come under fire for being arbitrary and nearly impossible to measure fairly and accurately.

Businessman Elon Musk recently criticized ESG because his electric car and battery company Tesla had crashed in its ratings while Exxon Mobil was in the Top 10 for ESG.

“ESG is a scam,” Musk said. “He has been weaponized by fake social justice warriors.”

If you don’t trust the mercurial Musk, prominent investor Warren Buffett, a more moderate observer of business practices, is also against ESG, calling it “assassination”, in part because it leads to unnecessary bureaucracy. . which is the same bureaucracy problem that the UCP resolution raises.

As I said, there are good ideas here, an admirable will to strengthen Alberta’s economy. Now, if only Smith could stick to this sensible script for the benefit of all of us.

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