Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Natural Gas Rebates: It's About Time

On March 19 Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight announced that the natural gas rebates will not be renewed past today. This will finally put an end to one of the government's most hypocritical programs.

For a government that espoused the necessity of non-intervention in the economy, the natural gas rebates were a blatant distortion of the market. The government would pick up part of the tab when natural gas became expensive. When somebody else is footing the bill, concerns about efficiency and consumption go out the window (sometimes literally). This defenestration distorts the market's demand for natural gas, a non-renewable resource.

Every time that the government claimed that its hands were tied with respect to rental housing or the pace of development, I'd just point to these rebates as a perfect counterexample. It was awful that the government would pick and choose when to interfere with the economy and yet preach laissez-faire at the same time. If you're going to try to be ideological, at least be consistent. These guys pander to the voters when it's convenient.


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