It’s only money

Alberta’s premier is calling on the federal government to buy more rail cars to ship our oil to market. After years of participating in activities that hindered this very thing, it seems somewhat odd that only now the Premier understands how important our energy industry is to this provinces financial well-being.

Once again a lack of fiscal understanding is getting in the way of coherent decision-making by the Alberta government. Adding additional railcars to the system will only increase the investment that taxpayers will unnecessarily be making, to accomplish what private industry has been trying to do for years, get their product to market. For years, private energy companies have been attempting to build pipelines but have been prevented by a narrow ideological mentality that now sees Alberta’s Oilsands landlocked.

In recent years, we’ve seen the consequences of displacing products that cannot be moved by pipeline in favour of petroleum products that can be. For every railcar that carries oil, it takes the place of the grain cars agricultural producers’ count on to move their product.

The suggestion is that the government should further invest in industrial infrastructure will only create a further dependence on taxpayer’s funding for private industry. When you realize that private industry was fully prepared to invest in and build the Trans Mountain Pipeline, it becomes clear that the need for government intervention is unnecessary and completely unproductive.

If the federal government is going to invest taxpayer’s money in infrastructure, the life of that infrastructure has to be considered. An example of how this was not done is the approach being taken with Alberta’s power plants. The early decommissioning of power plants will cost Albertans billions of dollars and only contributes to an already out of control provincial debt.

The confusion here seems to be that if we’re moving forward with a pipeline, as the Premier claims, then why the need for more rail cars? Let’s assume we end up owning a bunch of rail cars and let’s also assume that the pipeline is completed in a timely fashion; does this mean taxpayers will be left with billions more in wasted assets?

As a conservative, I believe strongly in smaller government, which also includes less government involvement in private industry. As a rule, if something is financially viable and worthwhile, private investors will usually make it happen on their own. This belief that nothing worthwhile can happen without the government there to backstop it, couldn’t be farther from reality. What makes anyone believe that unnecessary government involvement will fix a problem that the government created?

When we look at this situation from a broader point of view, it’s then that we realize that we are the proud owners’ of a pipeline that doesn’t exist and has yet to have a definite start date. Premier Notley was one of the loudest voices in favour of purchasing Trans Mountain and now she wants to put more of your money towards another asset that will end up on the junk pile.

Oh well it’s only money, your taxpayer money.

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