Alberta should follow Norway’s lead

Alberta’s Conservative governments have been no more responsible than a drunken sailor, spending everything as it comes in and saving next to nothing.

Alberta’s Conservative governments have been no more responsible than a drunken sailor, spending everything as it comes in and saving next to nothing.

Its Heritage Fund is worth barely $20 billion and has less buying power now than it did more than 20 years ago. In contrast, little Norway, with a population only slightly larger than that of Alberta but with the expenses of a national government, is sitting on $710 billion in its fund, more than 35 times more than Alberta. And Norway started its fund a decade after Alberta’s.

Why the shocking difference?

Norway behaves like an adult, putting away for the future. Rather than spending all its resource revenue as it comes in just to keep taxes low as Alberta does, Norway invests most of its receipts, responsibly taxing its people for current operations.

Unlike Norway, Alberta, in the words of former PC Energy minister Murray Smith, “gives away” its resources with royalty rates far below those south of the border.

Alberta has been under the control of the PCs for over 41 straight years. Of the 36 nation states and many hundreds of sub-national governments in the western hemisphere, the only government under uninterrupted one-party control longer than Alberta’s is that of Castro’s Cuba.

There is no problem facing Alberta today that is not the product of Tory policies. Is it reasonable to think that the party that produced every problem facing Alberta (or its Riled Rose offshoot) is the party that is best able to deal with them?

William Weiswasser

Red Deer

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