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NDP environmental policies: Who're ya gonna believe? Mark Carney or Rick Strankman?

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Mark Carney

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Who're ya gonna believe, huh?

Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada whence he was wooed away to serve as governor of the Bank of England and chair of the international Financial Stability Board, or Rick Strankman, Wildrose MLA for Drumheller-Stettler?

Dr. Carney, in Edmonton to receive an honourary degree from the University of Alberta, met with Premier Notley today and during a brief news conference expressed his support for the Notley Government's policy of linking its energy and environmental strategies with the goal of reducing emissions through mechanisms like a carbon tax while gaining social licence for the export the province's petroleum resources and building the economy in other ways.

"The two work together in reinforcing fashion in a way that uses the market to achieve results," Carney told a reporter outside the premier's office at the Alberta Legislature yesterday.

Strankman, his party's agriculture critic and a strong opponent of regulation of the farming industry, has recently become well known for the view expressed in his blog that the NDP government's carbon levy is somehow the equivalent of Stalinist policies that led to the starvation of six to 10 million people in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. The offending post has been deleted.

I do not intend, by the way, to mock people from small towns in Western Canada by highlighting these differing views. Carney, after all, was born in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

But, seriously, who are you going to believe?

Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP, the giant software, data analysis and media corporation that runs Bloomberg News Service, or Jeff Callaway, president of the Wildrose Party, who calls climate change "the global carbon scam"?

By contrast, Bloomberg said "Alberta's leadership is being noticed far beyond its borders. Its agenda will send a powerful signal to governments around the world that fossil-fuel rich regions are becoming climate change leaders -- not out of a sense of altruism, but out of a desire to strengthen their economies and improve their public health." (Emphasis added.)

"Experience has shown that cities, regions and countries benefit economically from investments that improve energy efficiency and create the modern infrastructure that investors seek," he wrote in an opinion piece published Saturday by the Calgary Herald. "If bold climate action can make it in Alberta -- to borrow a line about my hometown -- it can make it anywhere."

As for the Notley Government's bold climate action, like the carbon levy, Fildebrandt vowed on his Facebook page that "the Wildrose will fight to scrap it every step of the way." Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says the policies praised by Carney and Bloomberg will ruin the economy.

I could go on like this all night, but you get the general idea. And I don't have to note, do I, that Carney and Bloomberg are not exactly crazy left wingers?

One thing's for certain, though -- mainstream media will consider opinions like these, well informed and not so well informed, a matter of rough equivalency.

New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman, a PhD economist and winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, famously likens media coverage of this debate in the United States to an argument between proponents of the view the earth is round and those who believe it is flat.

"Headlines would read, 'Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.'"

Mark Carney or Rick Strankman? Michael Bloomberg or Derek Fildebrandt? Well, both sides do have a point ...but we should be able to figure out which point is right!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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