I don't follow Alberta politics. I'm not sure there's a world of difference between the parties - NDP, UCP or, for that matter, the Alberta Party.
Yet I was interested to read the telling remarks of Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel in the Edmonton Journal. It's an exercise in reading between the lines that reveals how warped their idea of reality has become.
Mandel laments that the province is broke. "We have no cash to pay for anything," he whines. Fair enough, true enough.
Well, what about doing what other provinces and states do to pay their bills, a sales tax? Slash and burn?
However, if his party wins power in 2019, he plans to talk to Albertans about their fiscal options.
“Albertans are frustrated with the level of spending we have right now … so we need to find a way to evaluate and gain control of those expenses,” Mandel told media Saturday.
“This is not a dictatorship. We want to talk to Albertans and ask what they want to prioritize.”
Party members also passed a motion to remove barriers to small and large businesses and develop an “entrepreneurial ecosystem reflective of Alberta’s strengths and natural assets.”Of special note was when Mandel turned to the TransMountain pipeline. If that doesn't go through, he said, "we're screwed."
To me that sounded like a guy moaning that, "if we don't start getting more free money, we're screwed." And they are. Oil money is windfall wealth. The energy giants dig it out of the ground, ship it out of the province and hand the government a royalty cheque.
Mandel's "we're screwed" is an admission that Alberta doesn't have its financial house in order and has no plans to do that except perhaps to cut government expenditure to the bone.
Here's a question. Just what do these petro-morons have in mind if/when the Carbon Bubble bursts and they have to fend for themselves? Have successive governments so neglected the provincial economy that they're screwed without free petro dollars?
Think of it this way. Alberta has had a number of oil booms and yet, as the bumper stickers say, they've "pissed it all away." All that wealth and they've got squat to show for it except for toxic, leaky abandoned wells and those massive tailing ponds, ticking time bombs threatening the northern watershed.
They have been on Easy Street, utterly derelict in their duty to the people of Alberta to the point that today, they're screwed, a pipeline away from collapse.
"We're screwed." You can thank yourselves for that.