Newspapers across the province carried the story that is making cowboy boots shake across the province, the Alberta government is looking at 90’s styled spending cuts. (See Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun and the Calgary Herald). As every other province and our federal government looks to increase spending to help its citizens survive the looming recession, Alberta remains the sole government institution to be warning its citizens of spending cuts. The reference to the not-so-long ago 90’s does little to quell fears in Albertans as memories of cuts to education, health care and infrastructure were done ” to help escape deficits and pay off a $23-billion debt.”
While the Alberta Government may have passed legislation to make it illegal to run a deficit budget, the Alberta Government must also realize, somewhere in that sea of blue, that cutting crucial services, services Albertans have been working hard to maintain and improve in order to preserve our almighty debt free budget isn’t the answer Albertans are looking for today.
Our dependence on one commodity and our government’s insistence to continue to pander to foreign companies and useless green initiatives (such as $2 billion on a carbon capture and storage initiative that has been proven to be ineffectual against tar sands pollutants…) has us in this pickle and the proposed solution to getting us out is no better then dumping the aforementioned pickle into a really hot deep fryer.
The 90’s saw major cut backs to Education which led to many of the problems with high tuition and deferred maintenance that Alberta post-secondary institutions have today. Just take one look at UofC’s crumbling residences or the fact the Alberta still has one of the highest tuition rates in the country. Couple these very real and fiscally difficult situations with the constant complaints (from both the Government and Albertans) of Alberta having to support so called “have not provinces” and how Ontario and Quebec is eating up all our oil money. Well, we thoroughly enjoyed our moment in the sun and now that oil is trading at $40.00 a barrel versus $80.00 a barrel we are once again burying our heads in the proverbial sand.
Instead of cutting spending and harkening to the doom and gloom days of the 90’s, as a province we should be looking to change HOW and WHAT we spend our tax dollars on. Incentives to multi billion dollar buisnesses to expolit our land and poison our rivers and billions of dollars to create technology that is deemed useless in neutralizing our enviromental impact just isn’t going to fly when Albertan’s are going to have to pay out of pocket for basic medical expenses again and Alberta education will see further cuts in efforts to save money.
In the words of well respected University of Lethbridge political scientist Peter McCormick, “He’s completely out in left field. No one else is remotely making these kinds of noises.”
Ed Stelmach, I have only one question for you: Do you really belive that the mistakes of the past will be the saviour of the future?