Sunday, October 21, 2018

"We're Screwed" - A Lot of Meaning in Just Two Words

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.


Dana said...

A little OT but a book you may find intriguing.

The Mound of Sound said...

It sounds interesting, Dana, but my stack of unread books is beginning to worry me. Worse yet I've got two more coming. One is Berton's 1982 book, "Why We Act Like Canadians." The other is Carl Sagan's,"The Demon-Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark."

What I'm finally discovering is how useful old books can be to help establish context for the events we're dealing with in the present.

Berton's book, nearly 35 years old,promises to be a time capsule of what it meant to be a Canadian back then and a yardstick to measure what we have become since then.

Sagan's 1995 book focuses on the need for the public to develop critical and skeptical thinking to be able to distinguish valid science from pseudoscience. In our world today where belief-based and knowledge-based realities are blurred the consequences could be catastrophic.

I'm slowly digesting John Kenneth Galbraith's 1958 classic, "The Affluent Society," in which he explores the rise in private sector wealth concurrent with the impoverishment of the public sector, particularly in matters of public and social infrastructure.

It is from climbing inside these time capsules that current policies and practices can be better understood. It's not a pleasant or inspirational endeavour.

Jay Farquharson said...

The Aberta Party was right of the PC's until Wildrose stripped of almost all it's members. That left the few Red Tories in the Party in charge, and the merged with Renew Alberta. They sit in the same place as the Liberals, to the right of the NDP, and have 3 seats in Parliament.

UCP is Jason Kenny's project, and is the one that keeps having Nazis as Cantidates and keeps inviting Nazis to it's Membership meet and greets while pretending they didn't know they were Nazis when caught.

Albeta's not actually in bad financial shape.

Jay Farquharson said...

BJ Bjornson said...

“I'm not sure there's a world of difference between the parties - NDP, UCP”

If you can’t tell the difference between the party committed to civil rights, pricing carbon, and funding education and health care versus the party of climate change denialists, cutting taxes for the rich and services for everyone else, and with candidates throwing rallies with the Soldiers of Odin and other white supremacist groups, you may just be part of the problem.

Karl Kolchak said...

Sounds like a microcosm of American national politics--a $21 trillion national debt (and very much counting), with virtually nothing to show for it but a lot of super expensive weapons systems that don't even work.