Two Hills – St. Paul – Lac La Biche MLA David Hanson is advocating for local school bus drivers who say the carbon tax is hindering their ability to provide transportation services for school kids.
During the Legislative Assembly of Alberta’s Question Period on April 5th, the MLA spoke out on the issue:
“On March 23rd, I met with a group of local school bus drivers, in the St. Paul area. They expressed some very grave concerns over the ever-increasing carbon tax on their livelihoods,” Hanson said that the drivers are the men & women people trust everyday with “our most precious cargo, our children.”
He expressed his concern as to what would happen if these trusted individuals could not longer find it viable to provide transportation services for schools. He asked,
“To the Minister of Education, is there any plan to elevate this crippling cost the carbon tax puts on our school bus operating system. Without simply passing the burden onto our already struggling school systems?”
Minister of Education, the Honourable David Eggen, responded that he has been working closely with all of Alberta’s school boards and rural school boards, specifically, “for way by which we can make our transportation systems more efficient and properly funded.”
The key way, Minister Eggen suggested in doing so, “to ensure that you have that base operating cost by making sacrifices in other areas.”
By making sure sacrifices, the Minister stated that $970 million more into school boards over the last three budgets that he has built.
The Minister did not speak on any alternative plans to assisting school bus drivers with in the rising costs due to the carbon tax.
Hanson responded, “our bus drivers need help right now,” he added that the drivers are required to use certain routes and make the same stops, not allowing them to reduce the kilometres they travel or the fuel they burn.
Questioning the Minister, “was there any thought on how the ever-increasing NDP carbon tax would effect our school bus drivers, especially since it’ll have a zero effect on GHD emissions.”
Minister Eggen suggested schools save money on the carbon tax through other areas, such as increasing their insulation to save on their heating costs. Implying that the savings could trickle down to the school bus drivers.
He also suggested that school systems work together to create one route, rather than have multiple buses picking up children in the same area for different school boards.
MLA Hanson stated that his United Conservative Party (UCP) has requested multiple cost-benefit analysis in regards to the NDP carbon tax. “This tax only has a negative effect on bus drivers, with no charge in the GHD emissions.”