For 40 years, the PC Party has directed Alberta and yes, Premier Jim Prentice, we need to take responsibility for that. How many more years should the citizens of Alberta wait until they get it right?
When Prentice arrived it was like a breath of fresh air. Under him the party would put on a new face. Alas, the face is starting to look old again. The government continues to be one that is reactive instead of proactive.
The province is stuck between a rock and a hard place and his grand plan is to nickel and dime us to death with increased fees on everything.
Yes, you would normally expect any government short of funds to increase taxes. But I’m sure I can speak for most Albertans, we expect much more than that from our government. A proactive approach would not increase any fees or taxes. Just as Jim said, there would be no sense in increasing corporate taxes the same rule and principle would apply to working Albertans.
Currently Albertans are taking wage rollbacks or worse yet, getting laid off. Why would you want to add insult to injury by increasing the cost of the goods and services we depend on?
I believe most Albertan’s would agree that it would make more sense to make modest increase in taxes and fees to both personal and corporations when Alberta’s fortunes improve. In the mean time, lean and clean your machine and don’t spend any money on stuff you don’t need. This is what most families do when times get tough. Governments should behave the same, particularly if they are conservative.
Set aside a fixed percentage of all royalties and subsidize years of low commodity returns. This means that every year a fixed percentage of all royalties are set aside in the fund. During low commodity values, the fund will continue to receive its fixed percentage but will subsidize the budget deficit. Over the long term, the fund will grow and provide stability versus the roller coaster we continue to ride.
Forever the province has talked about diversifying our economy. The record is broken. For years there hasn’t been a lot of value for natural gas. We’re experts at drilling for gas. But right now, it’s not profitable enough to drill for. But there is value in LNG. LNG facilities are popping up all over the world. We should be at the forefront of this industry but are being left behind in the dust. We can’t get a pipeline built. If Alberta was shipping LNG to Asia, the province wouldn’t be in the bind it is.
Our government has made some long-term projections. We know how successful those have been in the past. There is no reason to believe that it will be any different this time. This is why Prentice is calling an election one year before its four-year mandate. He says he needs a new mandate from the people to implement his 10-year plan. What he is actually seeking is job security. He is betting that things will only get worse before they get better. One year from now his odds at getting re-elected will be less.
I believe the province is at a critical crossroad and we can’t afford to make any blunders. The people of Alberta have given the PC Party a 40-plus-year mandate. Over those years, it has been shown that time and time again they can’t get it right. Albertans, let’s send a clear message to all politicians that this is not appropriate conduct of our representatives. We must send all former Wildrose MLAs back to the private sector. Truly all Albertans expect a minimum of respect and that kind of selfish behaviour is not acceptable for our representatives.
Jerry Van Hemert