A healthy democracy key to a healthy balance sheet: Taft

Curtail corporate power with limits on political party contributions to yield more public money.

Curtail corporate power with limits on political party contributions to yield more public money.

“If we had a more healthy democracy, we’d have a healthier balance sheet,” former provincial Liberal leader Kevin Taft told about 50 people at the Red Deer Public Library Wednesday.

He spoke in the series Exploring Our Democratic Deficit at a free event sponsored by Public Interest Alberta, Red Deer Action Group of Fair Vote Canada and the library.

Taft worked with University of Alberta economists Mel McMillan and Junaid Jahangir studying Statistics Canada data for their book Follow The Money.

The trio found Alberta’s public spending only slightly higher than other provinces, the Heritage Savings Trust Fund is worth less today than when it was created and personal incomes are higher than average here.

“Where the heck is all the money going? Who’s really benefitting from Alberta’s amazing wealth? We’re one of the richest places in the world and we’re seeing public institution closures and post secondary education cuts.”

The real beneficiaries from publicly owned resources are big corporations, reaping profits 100 per cent higher than the rest of Canada and the United States.

“Our wealth is flowing to New York, Houston, Shanghai and London.”

He said this plays into Alberta’s democratic deficit because “the government is the people’s agent and whoever controls the government, enjoys the benefits of the wealth.”

The solution is to change the way political parties are financed in Alberta by capping personal and corporate contributions just as federal limits do.

“It could be done with a single piece of legislation and reduce the influence of big money in Alberta politics.”

The average Albertan can affect change by pressuring MLAs for such a law as well as by voting since typically about 40 per cent of eligible voters don’t cast ballots.


Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read