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Damn the torpedoes — full steam ahead

Posted on May 17, 2016 by Sunny South News

By Wildrose Little Bow MLA Dave Schneider

One of the most famous sea battles of the U.S. Civil War was the Battle of Mobile Bay of Aug. 5, 1864. During that battle, federal fleet commander Rear Admiral David G. Farragut issued one of the most famous orders in military history.
Farragut’s order is still used today in modern vocabulary, “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.” The phrase is used to describe a lack of consideration of consequences, when rash decisions are made.
Farragut’s decision was considered rash and careless because he had just witnessed one of his ironclad ships unsuccessfully navigate the same minefield he had issued an order to head into at full speed.
Farragut’s order in modern vocabulary refers to a careless and haphazard approach to a potentially dangerous situation.
Navigating the Alberta Legislature often times comes with its own hazards, not to life and limb, but to freedom, liberty and democracy. The Assembly is the forum, where ideas are presented, challenged, questioned, supported, rejected, and then resurrected and debated all over again.
The objections to these financially aggressive ideological climate policies from Official Opposition members have, for the most part, fallen on the deaf ears of the government. With the benefit of having data from governments that decided to aggressively move away from coal-based energy productions, the Alberta government has adapted a “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” approach, regardless of the minefield of economic consequences that lay ahead.
The acceleration of the government’s climate policy is simply not compatible with Alberta’s economic well-being. This is not to say environmental issues are not important, in fact they are one of our most important responsibilities as legislators. That responsibility cannot trump the economic responsibility that fuels the very existence of the province. It would be completely irresponsible and potentially dangerous to ignore the role provincial economic well-being plays in funding many of the proposed green alternative energy projects.
The fact many of these alternatives, at this point, require subsidies creates a circle of responsibility that starts and ends with the funding only made possible by the stability of our economy.
The Alberta government’s rush towards the minefield is being driven by a need to gain what the premier refers to as a, “social licence.”
Guelph University Economics Professor Ross McKitrick, research chair in energy, ecology and prosperity at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, recently wrote “well-intentioned people have come to think more is needed, namely approval from the self-appointed activists at the Social Licence Bureau. And thus, has begun one of the costliest fool’s errands of modern times.” (1)
The premier has given the order to chase an ideological licence through waters lined with mines that have already blown holes in the sides of Ontario’s economy, the scope of which is still unclear. As Ontario takes on water and its economy lists under the weight of careless ideological decisions, Alberta’s government sails on by with the cry of, “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” coming from the premier and her government.

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