Postponing the Day of Reckoning, Alberta-style

Alberta Premier Alison Redford beseeches the Almighty for higher petroleum prices as Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson looks on. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Social democratic men of God J.S. Woodsworth (Methodist), Tommy Douglas (Baptist) and Stanley Knowles (United).

So what’s with the Redford Government’s receding horizon on tough decisions, d’ya think?

You bet they’re going to make some tough decisions. That’s for sure! The premier said so in her pretentiously titled State of the Province Address Thursday night. Again and again. So just you wait.

Heck, the finance minister was saying it for days before that.

So when will we see these actual tough decisions? In the budget on March 7? At the promised economic summit? When the bitumen pipeline to Kitimat is finished? The one to Texas? Later? Even later? Later than that? Maybe… Maybe not…

OK, people. Here’s the deal. I think I’ve got it figured out. Just remember where you heard it first.

Premier Alison Redford, Finance Minister Doug Horner and all the rest of the Progressive Conservative Legislative caucus – except, of course, the 20 or so who are continually rumoured to be on the verge of forming a third right-wing party, joining the Wildrose or whatever – are on their knees nightly praying for oil prices to go up.

Oh Lord, deliver unto us a little tension in the Strait of Hormuz, especially if it bumps the price of oil up to $200-per-bbl. for a spell!

But like the small-c conservatives to whom He has granted dominion here in Alberta, God Himself may be undecided about this – if only because He’s receiving so many counter petitions from the Wildrose prayer room.

Father in Heaven, as You said, blessed are the peacemakers….

Given their base, it must just about kill the Wildrose brain trust to be praying for peace in the Middle East, but there you have it. Under the circumstances, there’s nothing else for it, End Times, Armageddon, prophecy or no!

From the Progressive Conservative perspective, if only the price of oil will go up, Ms. Redford and her government will be absolved from ever having to make any hard decisions. God will be in His heaven and a the rest of us will vote PC, so all will be right with the world.

In the mean time, the tough decisions can just keep receding over the horizon, so that while the image of tough management perseveres, the wailing and rending of garments usually associated with actually making difficult decisions is postponed, hopefully for all of eternity.

In the mean time, we’ll look busy by having an economic summit while we wait for a bitumen pipeline to anywhere to be completed – a process that with bad luck for the Tories and good luck for the environment could take a decade or more.

On the other hand, from the Wildrose point of view, if the current mildly depressed state of energy prices will linger only a few months more – we can all agree, I think, that barring the introduction of cold fusion plants this isn’t going to be a forever thing – the Tories will continue to look increasingly incompetent or will finally be forced to put up a target at which the Opposition can take potshots.

God forbid, the Wildrosers and the Tories most certainly agree, that a fair and sustainable tax regime be adopted. That way taxpayers might actually have a stake in their government – and could an NDP premier be far behind?

All I can say is it’s enough to make one long for the days when the CCF-NDP leadership seemed to have its own direct line to the Almighty – J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas, William Irvine, Stanley Knowles, Bill Blaikie, c’mon down!

So don’t expect any light, divine or otherwise, to be cast on what the tough choices are likely to be made in Alberta between now and Budget Day, March 7.

And don’t be too shocked if there are no hard choices in the Budget Speech either – only references to how they’re gonna be made, and soon, and how tough they’ll be when they are.

The economic summit will be after the Budget, but don’t be heartbroken if there are no hard decisions recommended by the lucky summiteers, whoever they turn out to be.

And so on, forever and ever, amen.

Thus endeth the lesson.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

5 Comments on "Postponing the Day of Reckoning, Alberta-style"

  1. Sara Peterson says:

    The whole of Canada is in climate change denial. We never hear stories like this in our MSM.
    Paris supplies 4000 electric cars and 27,000 bikes that can be picked up and dropped off.
    Finland, Sweden, Norway, UK and Germany have carbon taxes.
    Sweden: the tax has resulted in innovations that provide 100% of heating from biomass and geothermal – using for example the refuse from forestry and packing plants. Only 4% of Sweden’s trash goes into a landfill – the rest creates energy.
    Denmark: has exported $10.5 billion worth of green technology or 9.2% of their exports. They also used carbon fund to set up plants that harvest waste heat energy the provides 60% of heating.
    Norway imposes a tax of 78% on oil and gas companies
    California is installing huge solar fields
    Seattle: the city is divesting its retirement funds investments in oil and gas companies.
    Sooke: The Sooke Band has installed a 400 panel solar photovoltaic system which generates 75KW hours of electricity and solar panels to heat water have been installed on roofs of all 86 buildings on the reserve.
    Germany:
    German national energy transition will reduce emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Right now 15% of its energy comes from renewable sources – wind and solar. 130,000 photovoltaic panels were installed last year. Guardian 07.12.12
    It is projected that Germany’s expanding renewable power industry will account for over half a million jobs by 2030.
    German solar plants produce 22 Gigawatts of electricity per hour
    German households and businesses that produce energy through wind or solar can sell it back to the grid at more than market prices. Some farmers are relying on this to finance their retirement.
    Iceland: Will have hydrogen powered cars in 10 years

  2. reginald soso says:

    Alberta gets and deserves the government it has slavishly, repetitively and with pluralities always elected.
    This is the democratic process, isn’t it?!

    • Sam Gunsch says:

      If the ordinary citizen in Alberta was provided with an informed and comprehensive overview of issues, the PC`s and elites in the various ruling industrial sectors, e.g. oil, could claim democratic legitimacy for their public policy, tax, legislation, budget decisions.

      In this regard, the MSM in Alberta are a joke or worse, are cheerleaders.

      So, while “reginald soso“ may be posing this issue of democratic process as
      ` tongue in cheek` commentary, I am commenting sincerely.

      The state of political journalism in Alberta has been an abomination for some years.

      Citiizens concerned with the common good have been worse than ill-served.

      A corporatist province, with a propaganda-managed veneer of democracy is the best one can say about Alberta.

      Sam Gunsch

      • Lars says:

        And to further Sam’s point, CKUA has just put its in-house news crew on the road – we are getting the BBC piped in, and while the Beeb’s pretty good about covering world events it doesn’t devote much of its time to what’s going on in Alberta, let alone in the legislature.
        I left the tin-foil hat at home today, so I’ll go on to say that I can’t help but think that this was a major goal in the Klein-era defunding of this public broadcaster. Took a long time to bear fruit – CKUA listeners rallied to keep the station going in as much of the same form as it was before the Tories cut the cord and their hand-picked management board redistributed all of the money meant to tide the station over as bonuses to themselves – but we’re finally seeing it. Another independent local voice silenced.

  3. ronmac says:

    Speaking of economic summits and economic diversification (a subject Ab politicians have been talking about the 16th century), Redford has a golden opportunity to put her money where her mouth is:

    By coming up with a $107 million for the Katz group to build the new downtown arena in Edmonton.

    Calgary too will soon be wanting a new arena of its own and no doubt Redford will be hearing a knock on her door. (Those of us who had kids knows what that knock sounds like.)

    But anyways another opportunity for Redford to demonstrate her commitment to economic diversification.

    I know a lot of people who will say: not one penny of public funding should go to billionaires and millionaires for their silly game of shinny.

    But I’m talking about a larger principle here. The strategy of using massive tax dollars to subsidize industry has been the sole property of the oil and gas industry in Alberta.

    I say it’s time to let other players into this exclusive club.

    We don’t have to stop here. I have this vision of turning hockey into some sort of “psuedo-relgious thingy”, attracting people from all over the world to skate and purify their souls on Alberta ice surfaces. (I’m operating under the premise that Canada is to hockey to what Mecca is to Islam).

    I’m just “green-lighting” here. But some scientists think we are entering a period of global cooling. So I’m saying let’s strap on the blades and skate thru it.

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