Guest editorial by Jeff Burgar
Alberta’s NDP party haters are happily smug these days. The Trans Mountain pipeline got a whacking blow from activist judges. The federal Court of Appeal ruling on Indigenous consultation was vague. Their talk about tanker traffic is out of the regulator’s mandate.
No matter. United Conservative Party of Albert supporters are giggling in the streets.
‘Yup,’ they say. ‘Rachel Notley’s NDP is one and done. Good riddance! Hooray!’
This is like smiling while biting off your nose to spite your face. Existing pipelines are plugged to capacity. Alberta can’t get its oil to market. So let’s cheer on a new government led by a former federal minister, Jason Kenney, who couldn’t get a pipeline built when he was in Ottawa. But now, he says he is going to get pipelines built. Uh, huh! No doubt Kenney is also selling ocean-view property in Wainwright!
One has to have their head in the sand not to admit the NDP are doing a better job in government than the PCs did under Allison Redford, Dave Hancock, or even the last year or so of Ed Stelmach’s government. Rot, including conflict with Wild Rose, was full-blown long before Jim Prentice came to his very brief stay in office in 2014. For the record, your columnist here was a Conservative before Peter Lougheed. And remained Conservative even through days of silliness as Conservatices ruled Alberta. Like having a Forestry Minister (Leroy Fjordbotten) from the desert country around Fort McLeod. Or a health minister (Ron Liepert) who dismantled the regional health boards to form the ‘super board.’ Which, with his approval and while running a $1.3 billion deficit, voted themselves a 25 per cent raise. The same guy implied High Prairie and McLennan, “weren’t good enough” for new doctors.
Sure, these days the NDP are running up huge debts as we work our way out of the oil slump of 2015-16. But the NDP efforts at money control continue. As just one tiny example, the NDP froze school superintendent salaries. Did anybody say those outrageous salaries grew like good gossip stories under the PCs?
Alberta’s debt could be knocked down over a few years through a provincial sales tax. The PST, like the GST, is a consumption tax. Rich people pay the most. The bad thing about a PST – people hate it. In fact, PST is often called the ‘Political Suicide Tax.’
And of course, the dreaded carbon tax. It was coming anyway under the feds. Notley chose to run it provincially rather than let the federal government take the cash. Now, she has already promised to stop scheduled increases. With Trans Mountain the way it is, the carbon tax could easily be ditched.
And complainers should remember something: Stelmach actually introduced the carbon tax 10 years ago. It was called the SGER back then. And guess what? Kenney actually liked it!
The bottom line: good government can happen under names we might not usually like. As we saw under the PCs, bad government can happen very easily under names we might usually like.