Right-wing politics has destroyed Alberta's economic future

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NorthReport
Right-wing politics has destroyed Alberta's economic future

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NorthReport

Now we hear that Alberta will not be able to balance its budget until 2017-2018.

With Alberta's great oil boom how is that possible unless there have been crooks or incompetents running the show in Edmonton?

Criminal charges have not been laid over this dismal economic track record as far as I know, so these right-wingers that Manning speaks so fondly of, must be total and utter incompetents. 

Smarten up Albertans and throw the bums out, and the Fraser Institute with them.

Slumberjack

The misfortunes of the Province of Alberta should be considered as the result of 'government of the people and by the people?' We might say that it isn't for the people by any stretch, but that is aside from the point of it being 'of' and 'by' the people.

NorthReport

More likely "governement of the people by the manipulation of the people"

rhubarb

Boom/bust economies thrive on speculation and appear to attract those who care little for the long term health of communities.  Alberta suffered in the 1980s with high unemployment following the 1970s boom.  It seems they didn't learn from that. 

 

Aristotleded24

rhubarb wrote:
Alberta suffered in the 1980s with high unemployment following the 1970s boom.  It seems they didn't learn from that.

They had the National Energy Program to scapegoat for that.

Adam T

It certainly shows up the claim that right wingers are somehow 'superior economic managers' for the lie that it is.

So, after years of gloating, it turns out Alberta only did well economically because of high oil prices.  Wow, I had no idea.

 

Red Winnipeg

Adam T wrote:

It certainly shows up the claim that right wingers are somehow 'superior economic managers' for the lie that it is.

So, after years of gloating, it turns out Alberta only did well economically because of high oil prices.  Wow, I had no idea.

 

Couldn't the same criticism be leveled against socialist Venezuela?

Aristotleded24

Red Winnipeg wrote:
Adam T wrote:

It certainly shows up the claim that right wingers are somehow 'superior economic managers' for the lie that it is.

So, after years of gloating, it turns out Alberta only did well economically because of high oil prices.  Wow, I had no idea.

 

Couldn't the same criticism be leveled against socialist Venezuela?

Venezuela has problems with its economic model for sure, and the collapse in oil prices certainly isn't helping the country much right now, but in its defense, it was one of the few countries in the world that didn't use the recent recession to cut spending on programs for people who are struggling economically.

Red Winnipeg

It is true that Venezuela did not cut spending programs. And, that's part of the problem they are having now. The Chavez government took all of the income from oil and disbursed it. What they should have done is taken a substantial portion of that income and used it to build an economy that wasn't wholly (or at least mostly) dependent upon oil. Now that the price of oil is collapsing, they are suffering the consequences of being nothing more than an oil-extraction economy and the social spending that they were able to do previously can now no longer be sustained. People can't find toilet paper, detergent, or other staples. It's a complete mess and failure.

Red Winnipeg

Look at Saudi Arabia: Same thing. The rulers have largely bought off the public with oil largess. If I were in the ruling family, I'd be really, really nervous right now. Oil may be headed towards $30 per barrel and, given the world economy (lower oil demand) and an overabundance of petro chemicals (with all of the US discoveries in Texas and North Dakota), it's probably going to stay low for the foreseeable future, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Saudi government was overthrown. Russian is in a similar fix, although not nearly as dire (it's pretty much just an extraction economy, too, although it extracts more than just oil).

Alberta has a much more diversified economy than Venezuela (95% or more of it's foreign exchange income came from oil), Saudi Arabia, or Russia. So, we're unlikely to see a social collapse in Canada due to the decline in oil prices.

jjuares

The tax and royalty structure is highly problematic here. Companies get a holiday from many royalties at first. So when they expand with the accompanying increase of population and need for infrastructure gov. Revenue doesn't increase enough for the infrastructure deficit. When you add up the need for new schools, school modernizations, hospitals sand other buildings you are talking about hundreds of buildings. This of course does not include roads and highways. No amount of punching new holes in the landscape will get us out of this mess. We have an industry not an economy.

Red Winnipeg

There's no doubt that Alberta's economy is not sufficiently diversified and that a declining oil price will have significant adverse consequences for the Albertan (and Canadian) economy. But, over-reliance on an extraction economy during good times is not a unique mistake of the right-wing political leadership of Alberta. Venezuela is a case on point.

jjuares

Red Winnipeg wrote:
There's no doubt that Alberta's economy is not sufficiently diversified and that a declining oil price will have significant adverse consequences for the Albertan (and Canadian) economy. But, over-reliance on an extraction economy during good times is not a unique mistake of the right-wing political leadership of Alberta. Venezuela is a case on point.

Yes, you are right. The problem for Alberta is that even boom times dont set up gov finances well enough to weather the bad times.

Aristotleded24

Red Winnipeg wrote:
It is true that Venezuela did not cut spending programs. And, that's part of the problem they are having now. The Chavez government took all of the income from oil and disbursed it. What they should have done is taken a substantial portion of that income and used it to build an economy that wasn't wholly (or at least mostly) dependent upon oil. Now that the price of oil is collapsing, they are suffering the consequences of being nothing more than an oil-extraction economy and the social spending that they were able to do previously can now no longer be sustained. People can't find toilet paper, detergent, or other staples. It's a complete mess and failure.

That's a fair criticism of the Venezuelan government. I'll try and post some more information on this file if I remember and if I find the time.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
People can't find toilet paper, detergent, or other staples. It's a complete mess and failure.

As I understand it, that's not a symptom of the falling price of crude, but a totally forseeable symptom of a three-tier, state-controlled currency exchange.  Venezuelans have the money to buy vegetable oil, but the importers don't have (or just can't afford) the exchange currency needed to import it.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Big question with Alberta, though, is why, no matter what happens, does the reponse by the majority of voters always seem to be "we need to go further to the right...then FURTHER to the right...then WAY FURTHER to the right"?

Why does there seem to be this absolute refusal to even think about any other possible options?

voice of the damned

Now, yes, that party swung dramatically to the right in the 90s under Ralph Klein, but remember, that was a time when Ontario was also giving Mike Harris back-ro-back majorities for implementing the exact same agenda. Things haven't exactly swung back to the left in Alberta, but I'm not really aware that they have in too many other places. Certainly not in Saskatchewan or British Columbia.

voice of the damned

This artcle by David Climehaga may be relevant, though he is talking about changes in governing party(eg. from Scored to PC), not changes within the governing party(eg. from Lougheed/Getty to Klein)...

http://albertadiary.ca/2009/12/not-this-again-albertas-wild-political.html

voice of the damned

Ken Burch wrote:

Big question with Alberta, though, is why, no matter what happens, does the reponse by the majority of voters always seem to be "we need to go further to the right...then FURTHER to the right...then WAY FURTHER to the right"?

Why does there seem to be this absolute refusal to even think about any other possible options?

In Alberta, it's not so much a case of always going farther to the right(otherwise the western separatists would have taken over a long time ago), but of always voting for the same party.

Next paragraph...

jjuares

voice of the damned wrote:
Now, yes, that party swung dramatically to the right in the 90s under Ralph Klein, but remember, that was a time when Ontario was also giving Mike Harris back-ro-back majorities for implementing the exact same agenda. Things haven't exactly swung back to the left in Alberta, but I'm not really aware that they have in too many other places. Certainly not in Saskatchewan or British Columbia.

We also have to be careful about over generalizing. For example the NDP leads according to most polls in Edmonton. I also expect that under Notley that is going to increase and a virtual sweep would not be out of the question. Of course with a few exceptions the rest of the province is a wasteland for the NDP.

NorthReport

The NDP might do better this time in places like Lethbridge but somehow they have to make a breakthrough in Calgary.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

You'd think, as a large, fairly diverse city, Calgary would be a place where the NDP would be able to do well.  Has the main problem been that voters there were scare of doing anything that would offend the petrocracy?

What is required to create the sense of "psychic freeing" there that would make Calgarians, who from their election of Naheed Nenshi as mayor seem to have demonstrated a capacity for somem open-mindedness, finall take the risk(such as it is)of voting for some party OTHER than the PC's or what remains of Wildrose?

voice of the damned

Thing is, Nenshi himself probably wouldn't be too uncomfortable as a PC MLA, especially if the party were headed by someone like Nancy Betkowski or Tom Lukaszuk(mixing my eras a bit here). I believe his personal allegiance is to the Alberta Party, which is basically a hangout for wayward Blue Liberals and Red Tories.  

JKR

One reason the PC's have been unbeatable is because they have run against a weak and divided opposition. The Alberta NDP and Alberta Liberals have split the vote for decades and let the Alberta PC's win by default. I think if Alberta was not connected to the politics of the rest of Canada, the Alberta NDP and Alberta Liberals parties would have come together and formed a new party a long time ago. As it is the NDP brand and the Liberal brand in Alberta are considered by too many Albertans to be parties that have philosophies compatible with those of central Canada whereas the PC brand and the conservative brand are considered pro-Western Canada brands by many Albertans. I think a merger of the Alberta NDP, Alberta Liberals, Alberta Greens and The Alberta Party would be a major step in providing Alberta with a viable opposition-in-waiting. But given the political rivalries at the federal level, I don't see any mergers happening soon. So the Alberta PC dynasty will likely make it past the half-century mark in just a few years.

janfromthebruce

Wasn't it just stated that the Alberta party is the refuge of blue liberals & red Tories? Blue Liberals who shifted their votes in the 2011 federal election, in Ontario to give Harper his majority? Don't see a party like that being a viable option for progressives, perhaps faux progressives.

But it brings to mind the Sask party who are composed of Cons and liberals. We call them liberalcons! Ditto for BC Liberals: Liberalcons

voice of the damned

I was the one who described the Alberta Party as Blue Liberals and Red Tories, and now that I think about it, that maybe should be taken with a measure of caution. Next paragraph...

voice of the damned

Their previous leader, Glenn taylor, was in fact an NDP candidate in 1997. The current guy, Greg Clark, had previously worked for the Alberta Liberals under Laurence Decore, a very right-wing Liberal who was the first to push for austerity in the 93 election.

They had a lot of right-wing leaders in their early days, but they were essentially a different party then.

voice of the damned

Their candidate in Edmonton Millwoods in 2012 was a holdover from their right-wing days, and had previously held a position with the Wildrose Party. Google "Robert Leddy".

NorthReport

How many years now have right-wingers been in charge of the government in Alberta? And they didn't put aside money for a rainy day, like a downturn in oil prices, so now Albertans are going to have to pay a sales tax like the rest of us.

Brilliant financial stewards of the peoples' money, doncha think! Frown

Alberta premier open to talk of sales tax

http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/01/13/alberta-premier-prentice-ope...

NorthReport

Fraser Institute is a little late coming to the party. Where were they when these right-wing governments were actually blowing it big time, eh!

Cheering them on like there is no tomorrow is where the Fraser Institute was.

Bunch of hypocrites!

Alberta squandered oil wealth with big spending, Fraser Institute says

Norway has $759B in its sovereign wealth fund, Alaska has $64B, so why is Alberta crying poor?

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/alberta-squandered-oil-wealth-with-big-s...

 

NorthReport

No charges in RCMP investigation into former Alberta premier Redford’s spending

http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/02/20/no-charges-result-from-rcmp-...

iyraste1313

Couldn't the same criticism be leveled against socialist Venezuela?

it´s not a matter of right wing politics (i.e. conservative /liberal vs NDP ad nauseum) it´s a matter of corporate capitalism...

Russia e.g. has a huge wealth fund, huge gold holdings and huge sums of US treasuries, which it now is dumping en route to the collapse of the US/Canadian dollars, because their country managed their natural resources for the stability of their system...(though not necessarily for the benefits to their people...

The case of Venezuela is different, as they invested their funds in projects of the poor and in support of building international alliance aka ALBA, for which yes they are now suffering for, as this was not necessarily capital investment to bring economic returns in the near term...

Aristotleded24

Honest question for Albertans. The last time the Alberta PCs had major problems was in the 1980s, when the NDP broke through and became the Official Opposition. It was at the time when oil prices took a toll on the province's economy, and the fortunes of the PCs appear to have recovered once oil prices went up again. Now, oil prices are still down, Alberta's economy is facing challenges because of it, and the NDP's Notley is getting much attention, even on CBC Calgary. Is there an actual opportunity to have meaningful dialogue about the future of Alberta politics, or will the fortunes of the PCs pick up again once oil prices rise, which given the demand out there, they will for sure?

voice of the damned

Tentative comments from a former and possible future resident of Alberta, who still follows the broad contours of Alberta politics...

 

voice of the damned

I think it's possible, moreso than usual, that the NDP could make some significant gains in the next election, given the factors you mention: oil prices, Notley's personal profile, not to mention the somewhat erratic personality of Jim Prentice. If not a total repeat of 1986 and 1989, then at least the closest the party has come to that showing since those years. NEXT... 

voice of the damned

But, any NDP surge will likely be confined mostly to the Edmonton area and the north, with maybe a seat or two in Calgary and the south(as in '86). And I DON'T think it will neccessarily signify any long-term decline in Tory fortunes. As you probably know, the oppositon foothold that lasted from 1986 to 1993(alternating between NDP and Liberal dominance) was weakened in 1997, and came pretty close to being wiped out in 2001.

voice of the damned

Oh, and since your post was focussed on oil prices(which I neglected to address): Yes, my scenario of long-term Tory hegmony is based on the assumption that the boom/bust cycle continues as it has in the past. I'm not sure what I would predict for a world where the price of oil stays at fifty bucks or even goes lower.

jerrym

voice of the damned wrote:

Oh, and since your post was focussed on oil prices(which I neglected to address): Yes, my scenario of long-term Tory hegmony is based on the assumption that the boom/bust cycle continues as it has in the past. I'm not sure what I would predict for a world where the price of oil stays at fifty bucks or even goes lower.

That's why Prentice will quickly call an election because things are going to get very bad before they get better, if that happens at all. The Heritage Fund is a joke compared to what Norway's state-owned oil company has given that country as a protective nest egg. This issue should be hammered on in the election. In the medium term, the oil industry may recover, but in the long run it will be in deep trouble as the world continues to move away from fossil fuels.

Last year ""Wind power produced the equivalent of 33% of Denmark's total electricity consumption in 2013 and 39% in 2014.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Denmark

Germany's "governmental goal is to continuously increase renewables' contribution to the country's overall electricity consumption. Long-term minimum targets are 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany

"Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring California's utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of 2020."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_by_country

In a recent speech Obama said 39% of new energy production in the US in 2014 was renewable. 

"Solar power in Mexico has the potential to produce vast amounts of energy. 70% of the country has an insolation of greater than 4.5 kWh/m²/day. Using 15% efficient photovoltaics, a square 25 km (16 mi) on each side in the state of Chihuahua or the Sonoran Desert (0.01% of Mexico) could supply all of Mexico's electricity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Mexico

In China, "in May 2011, the National People's Congress (NPC) set 5 GW as an official minimum PV target for 2015, with a longer-term target of 20–30 GW by 2020.[5] In May 2014, the National Development and Reform Commission announced that the solar capacity target had been upped again, now to 70 GW by 2017."

In 2011, global electrical production spending on renewables surpassed fossil fuels for the first time according to Bloomberg News, a business cable channel.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-11-25/fossil-fuels-beaten-by...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_China

Meanwhile Haper and Prentice continue marching Canada and Alberta down the buggy whip industry of the 21st century's road. 

 

Malcontent

Ah Alberta aka the Lone Tar province where peoples well water lights on fire, Tar sands have made areas look more barren than the moon and mad cow....sounds like a place to avoid..