For the first 64 days of 2017, Brian Jean had to cool his heels on confronting the Notley government about their carbon tax, which was implemented on New Year’s Day. On Monday, he was able to let loose during the first question period of the new session of the Alberta legislature.
“The NDP said last week they understand it’s their responsibility to make life better for Albertans. They failed, every single one of them,” said Jean in his opening statement to the government. “It’s more expensive to drive, to heat your homes and to buy groceries for every Albertan.”
With Premier Rachel Notley in Texas at an energy conference, it was Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman who engaged in a back and forth volley of questions about the carbon tax and its effects.
“I’m so glad to talk about affordability,” said Hoffman. “On this side of the house, we’re working every day to keep money in Albertans’ pockets and to keep money in the local economy. On that side of the house, all they care about is standing up, running in circles, and fighting among themselves.”
Hoffman’s opening response wasn’t the only time she’d allude to the possible changes afoot with Alberta’s right-of-centre political parties.
“Whether it’s the Wildrose, Wildrose 2.0, Conservatives, Conservative Alliance, Conservative Reform Alliance, the answer will always be the same. They will always stand up for themselves and for the big insiders, while we’re on this side making life better for Alberta families.”
Jean returned fire, mocking the recently announced plan to use revenues from the carbon tax to employ contractors to install energy efficient products in Alberta homes.
“How many NDP bureaucrats does it take to install a lightbulb,” quipped Jean to applause from his benches.
“The members opposite have no interest in energy efficiency, or anything that will make life more affordable for Alberta families,” said Hoffman. “That’s why we were the last jurisdiction to finally catch up and bring forward an energy efficiency program.”
“Well, actually, Wildrose believes Albertans spend their money better than government is going to,” said Jean. “It’s NDP elitism and condescension at its finest.”