Economic winds of change blowing

The rise and fall of the Wildrose Party marks a watershed in the political situation in Alberta. For the ruling Conservatives, it denotes the end of an economically stable period that enabled them to govern with relative ease.

The rise and fall of the Wildrose Party marks a watershed in the political situation in Alberta. For the ruling Conservatives, it denotes the end of an economically stable period that enabled them to govern with relative ease.

The move to the Conservatives by some of the Wildrose career politicians has left its mark on the electorate who are less than impressed with what they have observed. The reaction to these events has been more than just a feeling of disappointment, there is a questioning that did not exist before.

The approach of austerity measures herald a new reality in Alberta as the government endeavours to balance the provincial budget in the face of the collapse in world oil prices. This comes at a time when the provincial infrastructure is in serious need of upgrading and when the opportunity to obtain a greater return from abundant oil revenue has disappeared.

There is an increasing feeling of insecurity in our society that is palpable. It is becoming apparent that Alberta is not a separate entity, not an oasis in a volatile world but is in reality an integral part of a larger world economy that is firmly gripped by ever-increasing and unprecedented crises. People are voicing the fear that the current oil industry downturn will be nothing like those of the past.

The present administration faces a huge shortfall in the revenue required to run the province. It will have to choose between increasing the burden on working people and obtaining the shortfall from those at the top who have the ability to pay. The actions of the provincial government will come under much greater scrutiny than at anytime over the last four to five decades.

It is, however, not simply a question of increasing the taxes on those who are able to finance the provincial shortfall. The present situation is not just the result of Conservative ideology or bad management. It is the result of the contradictions inherent in the present economic system that lead to periodic crises. Alberta is organically linked to the malady that pervades the present economic system on a world scale.

We are now witnessing unprecedented, increasing, economic and political change in a world where economies have never been so linked together or so interdependent. Falling demand in the world market has led to increased competition between countries; this has resulted in disguised import controls and a creeping undeclared trade war.

Wages and living standards are falling as austerity measures are applied that serve only to exacerbate the problem by further cutting demand.

There is chronic overproduction around the world, which means that there is no reason for capital investment in manufacturing and we witness instead a growing speculation in things like property.

Despite the 2008-9 credit crash and the subsequent bank bailout, the Canadian economy functions increasingly on credit. Our debt to income ratio is already at an historical high.

The next provincial election will probably result in an increase of support for opposition parties and the return of the Conservatives to government. The coming federal election is hard to forecast but all those who are elected to govern will face enormous pressure from the needs of working people on one hand and big business on the other.

Attempts to alleviate economic pressures and raise profits by measures of austerity will lead to increased political pressures. Any attempt to placate the situation by increasing wages and public spending will decrease profits and result in increased economic pressure.

The ordinary people will, through the process of electing different political parties, attempt to find a way out of the present economic impasse and if this is not forthcoming their displeasure will increase. What is required is a fundamental change from the present economic system to a democratic socialist planned economy.

There is a fresh wind blowing in Alberta that seems at present little more than a whispering breeze; it is a Chinook of change.

Keith Norman Wyatt

Innisfail

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta is on pace to administer more than 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week, according to the provincial government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Alberta

Alberta hit a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 this week. As… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Interior work will start this year on Red Deer hospital project, says infrastructure minister

‘We are committed. This is a top priority,’ says Presad Panda

Even with recent restrictions due to rising COVID-19 variant case levels, about 95 per cent of businesses are open in Alberta, said Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Consistent pandemic policy has helped Alberta, premier says

Alberta fatality rate lower than Canadian average

Richie Laryea of Toronto FC, left, and Jean Meneses of Mexico's Leon battle for the ball during a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, in Leon, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Toronto FC hosts Club Leon in the second leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 tie holding a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw last week in Mexico. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mario Armas
Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Winnipeg Jets' Dylan DeMelo (2) skates the puck around Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot (72) as he holds off Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) during first-period NHL action in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Bichette hits 2nd homer in 9th, Blue Jays beat Yankees 5-4

Bichette hits 2nd homer in 9th, Blue Jays beat Yankees 5-4

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Jarrell Brantley (5) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Salt Lake City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Bowmer
Undrafted Montreal native Dort continues to smash “glass ceilings” in NBA

Undrafted Montreal native Dort continues to smash “glass ceilings” in NBA

A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past banners for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, to mark 100 days before the start of the Summer Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eugene Hoshiko
Rings on the Horizon: Tokyo Summer Olympics hit 100 days out marker

Rings on the Horizon: Tokyo Summer Olympics hit 100 days out marker

Lethbridge Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh speaks during a news conference in Lethbridge, Alta., on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter
‘Right path:’ Lethbridge police release improvement plan in wake of controversies

‘Right path:’ Lethbridge police release improvement plan in wake of controversies

Most Read