Thursday, August 27, 2009

Alberta Advantage, What Happened?

Yesterday Alberta Finance Minister, Iris Evans gave the latest update on the state of the province's fiscal situation. She gave us some grim news. The deficit is going to be larger than anticipated, $2.2 billion more than they had forcasted in the spring.

They're going to have to tap into the $17-billion sustainability fund to help off set this deficit that they helped to create.

So, what happened to the Alberta Advantage? How did we get from there to where we are today?

When Ralph Klein came in as Premier in the early nineties, we were in debt and deficit. That was due to the mismanagement of his predecessor. He was able to take measures to get us out that mess. It was a sacrifice for all of us at the time. He sucessfully was able to finally get rid of that albatross that was stifling our progress and move ahead.

We then were able to post budget surpluses even large ones over the years. That was at $10 a barrell oil to boot. Spending then took over. Big spending.

It did not stop when Premier Ed Stelmach took over. Infact he started to spend even more.
Ed brought in a new royality frame work (so we could get our fair share) It stifled our oil and gas industry so much that in fact he drove some of them out of the province and into B.C and Saskatchewan.

$2 billion is being spent on carbon capture and storage. What for? It's not going to make a shred of difference. It's all about image. You see we supposedly have a bad reputation in the world as far as our oil/tar sands. According to some we have "dirty oil." This money is a total waste. That would save $2 billion right now. Alas, they are going ahead with it anyway even though we cannot afford it.

Now we find ourselves in quite a predicament.

In Ms. Evan's presser yesterday she blamed it on the price of oil and the recession. Not once did she on behalf of the province take any responsiblity. She never once admitted that they had mismanaged things.

So now we're in this mess, it's up to us, Alberta. We need to hold their feet to fire and demand better.

With all her rhetoric, her inability to recognise the sickness of mismanagement in the government she is a part of, some might attempt to label her as "Virus Evans." I will not. I have too much respect for the office she holds to label her in such a manner.