Hey Alberta, boom days are fleeting

Our provincial government recklessly behaves as though the “Boom Years” is a permanent condition.

Our provincial government recklessly behaves as though the “Boom Years” is a permanent condition.

Alberta, a resource-rich province, is in danger of becoming sucked dry of its future. I’m speaking specifically of the recent government focus on shipping oil globally — including the value-added jobs that go with it — to squeeze Alberta out of the benefit of its rewards.

The oil is in Alberta but the jobs it takes to process and refine one of our signature products is being developed elsewhere. This makes no economic sense for Alberta’s future. While I see no issue in exporting a finished product, the raw materials of that product should not be siphoned off at the expense of prospects and development in Alberta.

Our provincial government is trading the future for a quick and attractive buck today with a blurred and shallow vision of tomorrow. Once the oil is piped away, the value-added jobs and economics that go with it will never return.

What is being promoted as the Alberta advantage is, in fact, a short-term boom that will lead to a long-term bust. Case in point is to remind ourselves when U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot voiced his deep concern on the “giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs headed to Mexico.

Fellow Albertans, I invite you to listen closely. That “sucking sound” assaults us in deafening magnitude.

The very resource that has made Alberta strong is now at risk to weaken the province that the rest of the country leans on for opportunities. Alberta jobs are heading out of province, and indeed out of country, thanks to leaders who claim to be working for our benefit.

We can still have pipelines and develop our resources, but let’s send refined products to safeguard as well as develop our children’s future. We don’t need to spend all our heritage fund in one term as more government spending is inevitable.

Our province will long outlive the current five-year leadership, and the pursuit of a short-term legacy is too self-serving and narrow-minded to envision what the true dream could be.

Bill Baker

Red Deer

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