Alberta wants to spend like it’s 1994

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?

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5 thoughts on “Alberta wants to spend like it’s 1994

  1. Mike Soron says:

    I was astonished when I heard this earlier today. One is left to wonder why they alone are choosing a different path. Is Alberta smarter than the remainder of the Western world, more aware of the vastness of this problem than Nobel laureates and the progressive economic community? Surely, the PR firm they hire to sell this to Albertans will insist that deficit spending is what created the crisis, but hearing the from the Tories would be just utterly bullshit.

    Alberta’s government, being a lowly and short-sighted province, has even fewer options to address the crisis than federal governments. Alberta cannot rely on monetary policy and has very little flexibility because of the embarrassing lack of diversification and security in our provincial economy. We are unbelievably reliant on commodity prices, as individuals and an economy — and have no resilience built in to ensure Albertans can feed themselves and get around should our economies stumble. Our food is imported, our transportation system is comprised of private petrol-vehicles, our infrastructure is poorly built, poorly maintained, and unquestionably inadequate. And this CANNOT be blamed on the recent economic disaster — it is the fault of economic and political mismanagement for an entire generation.

    Still, on another level, I am unsurprised. Albertans elected the PC party understanding how blindly ideological they were — this is well understood and certainly not denied by the party. And this response would be true to form. Tragically, their blind ideology didn’t stop them from mad, irresponsible spending of late. ($2bn+ of Alberta’s public purse for junk science is permissible regardless of economic circumstances, it seems).

    Strange conversation for a Friday from this government. We’ll see what happens from the big presses over the weekend, I imagine.

  2. danpagan says:

    Also, it have an impact on the Albertan disability community like cuts to training for interperters and assistants.

    Why do Stelmach reminds me of Hoover?

  3. Ken Chapman says:

    CO2 capture is not a solution to oil sands emissions but rather on electricity generation where we have apure stream that we can capture from coal fed generation and use it for enhanced conventional oil recovery rom delpeating wells.

  4. Homeless Alberta next too

    “Buyers find sanctuary in rural real estate Calgary Herald – With prolonged economic malaise on the horizon, residential properties outside Calgary’s limits may become more attractive for potential homebuyers looking to escape to their own sanctuaries away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.”

    May I remind you that Calgary and Edmonton had expanded so fast that they took over all of the suburbs and there is no real estate available outside of the main cities.. and especially no water… and the remaing extremely small Towns like High River , Canmore, Okatoks, have already long been engulfed in the over pricing of the homes too..

    Reality In Calgary, Edmonton when there is a recession, you lose your job, your house goes into foreclosure and you have a BIG GARAGE SALE AND YOU MOVE BACK EAST, CAUSE IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE TO SHIP YOUR GOODS ANYWHERE.

    Imagine my surprise, unlike Quebec where there is an abundance of them on the rural roads, you really could not find a restaurant , never mind a decent one on the highway outside of the main cities.

    Anyway the wise people new that this day of the Albertan recession was coming, when the oil prices would drop again, history repeats itself, even like it did in the 80’s in Alberta too.

    In spite of the spins PM Stephen Harper is not the only one facing an eviction notice these days.

  5. Solid post:) hope to come back=D

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