As Alberta’s economy nosedives, conditions are right for another Socred government, said the leader of the Social Credit Party.
Len Skowronski, who attended a policy convention in Red Deer County Saturday, said his Social Credit Party was first elected as Alberta’s government during the Great Depression of the 1930s. “We’re sort of going back to the Social Credit roots… we’re going into a major recession/depression right now.”
The Calgarian notes the Socreds formed the Alberta Treasury Branch and passed the Credit Union Act to help Albertans get credit after major banks closed rural branches in 1935.
Since major lenders are again scaling back on loans, Skowronski believes it’s to reconsider the Social Credit Party’s monetary policies.
About 20 party members met at the Moose Lodge to discuss proposals, such as reforming the role of the Alberta Treasury Branch to what it originally was — an arm of the government that gave Albertans low interest loans.
Skowronski said it was the Tories that remade the treasury branch into just another bank.
He faults the Conservative government for giving out too many oilfield leases in the last few years. “If the government had controlled the boom a little better, there wouldn’t have been as big a bust,” said Skowronski, who wants the Tories to stop giving Alberta’s resources away to big business.
Instead, he suggests forming a Crown Corporation, “an Alberta Oil and Gas Company,” to keep more profits in the province. The nationalized company would make decisions that benefit Albertans — such as drilling, building and upgrading plants now, when construction costs are low and unemployed labour is available, said Skowronski, who doesn’t believe drilling should be delayed until oil prices rise.
“The price of oil is going to go up again . . . we shouldn’t be laying off these people, we should be getting them doing something long-range.”
Skowronski, a former oilfield consultant who worked for multinational corporations in the Middle East, also wants to stop bitumen exports to the U.S., saying refineries that turn the raw material into synthetic oil should be built in this province to create jobs.
Several monetary policy proposals were tabled for discussion at the next convention. But the membership agreed Saturday that Albertans should gain increased ownership of the province’s natural resources through a “holding company” that invests in the development of the oil sands and other new ventures, and ensures Albertans have controlling interest.