EDITORIAL: Pain at the pump

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney cancelled a press conference at an Edmonton gas station last week where he’d planned to hail the end of the carbon tax.

Ironically, it was because he needed to be briefed on the wildfires consuming the province and raining ash on the city.

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Here in B.C. we’ve been having our uptick in emissions – mostly about the price of gas. When the price per litre topped $1.70, daytime talk radio and the online commentariat seized the opportunity. What was the premier doing about this pocketbook issue? Cut the carbon tax, they demanded.

Now, with no act of government, prices are back down to where they were a few weeks ago.

Never mind for a moment that the carbon tax was being scapegoated for the spike in fuel prices. It was as if we all forgot exactly what the purpose of the tax was in the first place: to incent us to make smarter decisions. Is the Hemi engine really needed to cross the Lions Gate Bridge? Does every trip outside the home need to be propelled by an internal combustion engine?

During Bike to School Week, Braemar Elementary boasted an average of 84 bikes per day locked up outside the school. But when the week that celebrates and encourages active transportation came to an end, it was back down to eight. This demonstrates clearly we’re going to need both the carrot and the stick to break our carbon addiction.

When, inevitably, market forces push the price of gas back up again, let’s try to remember the price we pay at the pump is a pittance compared to the cost that’s coming if we fail to confront carbon-driven climate change.

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