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

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read