3.08.2013

P.C.'s Fast Becoming un-Albertan

The nightmare everyone was waiting for finally happened yesterday as Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government released Budget 2013, and after hearing the full speech given by Finance Minster Doug Horner, it occurs to me he could have saved time and just stated “The Wildrose was right."
 
By my own admission I’m not a ‘numbers guy’ given my natural tendency to look at the big picture and leave the details to others.  But even I can comprehend the truth that, when you are standing chin-deep in a massive hole, you don’t borrow a shovel (with interest) and dig like there’s no tomorrow.
 
Opposition has been as loud as expected, with condemnation spanning the gamut of opinion.  The leftwing Alberta Liberals and the New Democrats both claim the Alison Redford government has a revenue problem and have offered a laundry list of misguided fixes.
 
Danielle Smith’s Wildrose offered up their own version in what they call their ‘Financial Recovery Plan’ which includes eliminating the operating deficit immediately and the ‘real cash deficit’ in 2014 to putting a cap on annual spending increases and shifting half of all future cash surpluses into the once-iconic Heritage Fund.
 
Pre-sold as a ‘new way’ of delivering a Budget, the optics delivered was that of a shell game.  It might have made it easier to understand for some, but beyond the preamble and rhetoric is a government telling its people that, despite record fiscal revenues, the run of consecutive deficits will continue and the province will sink even deeper into debt.
 
Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation stated what I and many others have said when he lamented the fact that this completely devalues the tough economic sacrifice Albertans had to endure in the 1990’s.  That fiscal mess was caused by the irresponsible Don Getty P.C.s, a regime which Alison Redford’s group is being heavily compared.
 
Albertans made their choice at the ballot box last year, and chose to fear a faux ‘Lake of Fire’ instead of fearing a real lake of debt.  Now the voter’s remorse will kick in for many. Others will fill new media with the scroll of broken election promises and sound bites of embarrassing predictions by P.C. MLA’s including the premier.  They have been exposed.
 
What I have already encountered from party supporters is troubling in a different way.  The typical ‘modern P.C.s, old-school Wildrose’ spin has surfaced, with one tweet suggesting that I should ‘stay in the past while the rest of us move forward.’
 
And there’s the problem.
 
Debt is seen by these people as ‘progress’.  It has become acceptable – common, even.  Everybody’s doing it.  Being fiscally responsible is so yesterday. It’s passé.  New age progressives embrace the notion that we (the government) can take care of us at any cost.
 
Never have I encountered so many alleged ‘conservatives’ in the P.C. ranks who encourage the idea of higher taxes – even the non-starter of a P.S.T.  Never before have I seen so many members of that party espouse socialistic dogma such as ‘making the rich pay their share’.
 
I’ve long known that, save a few pockets here and there, conservatives had moved away from the P.C. party as the progressive element (virus?) infiltrated its structure.  Now we are seeing the inevitable fallout that always comes with progressivism – the need to ‘change the culture’ of wherever they are fortunate enough to rule. Around here, that means our traditional Alberta values.
 
Creating divisions between rural and urban communities, vilifying the policies of great former leaders like Ralph Klein only to praise him when politically advantageous, mismanaging provincial finances to the point of draining the Heritage Fund, and presenting all of this as our idea (“…the people have told us…”) are all hallmarks of the far-left progressive modus operandi.  It’s what we’re witnessing.
 
It is irresponsible, unacceptable, and un-Albertan.

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