Gee, go figure. Iris is surprised.

 I am doing rather well in my predictions. I have to admit, one does not need to be a modern-day Nostradamus to have predicted that our gang of clowns governing the province would be in shock and running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to understand how they have spent us into a record and growing deficit. Ignoring advice from many quarters, the Progressive Conservative government has continued with unrestrained, untargeted and unsustainable spending after having castrated the main industry in the province with an ill-conceived and greed driven royalty gouge. The “rainy day” savings will quickly run dry and we can look forward to putting our grandchildren in debt soon.

 The cartoon in the Calgary Herald lays it out very well.

 The PC government has realized that they were rather dependent on the revenues from the industry that they so recently demonized and drove from the province. Revenues are now down on all fronts. From field and office workers who used to pay income taxes, to land-sale revenues, to corporate tax revenue, to municipal road use revenues and of course royalty revenues the government has seen a massive drop in them all since attacking the energy industry. Sure things were going to slow down in this recession anyway. It never needed to be this bad however.The energy industry came to a screeching halt in Alberta almost a year before the world economy dropped.  This is directly due to the actions of Stelmach.

 Special Ed made a short appearance the other day and muttered some incomprehensible excuses to try and soften the blow for the coming budget update. Ed has now sunken down and will likely remain well hidden until the Calgary by-election is finished. The PCs have at least realized that whenever their leader speaks, they drop another couple points in the polls.

 Despite all of these hard lessons for Albertans, the PC government still appears to have not learned a thing. Iris Evens looks dejected and clearly realizes that she has blown it. Still, there was no uttering of terms such as spending restraint or trying to encourage business to come back to Alberta. From all appearances the PC government looks like they intend to continue with massive spending and praying for a miracle.

 I will make another prediction. Iris Evans is praying that natural gas will suddenly jump in price. Sorry Iris, hoping for it to happen will not make it happen. In the next quarter we will see yet another jump in the deficit. The world is in a slowdown and there is a glut of natural gas (not to mention energy companies don’t want to come back to Alberta right now).

 In a dark-humour sort of way, I am tempted to start a pool for how long it will take and how many budget updates we will see before the sustainability fund is completely gone. It should not be too long.

 The belt-tightening Albertan’s did through the 90s was a good thing. We eliminated our debt and saw a sustained boom afterwards. Ed Stelmach has managed to eliminate all of those benefits in a few short years in power. I shudder to think what he may do with three more years in power.

Some more on Iris Evans’ “Good news budget”.

 It has been hard on the stomach watching our irresponsible provincial government officials patting themselves on the back due to their being able to reduce their spending increase to a mere 3.7% this year. Remember, these people have not stopped increasing spending, only the rate at which they will increase it. They have done this masterful feat by running a potential $7 billion dollar deficit and raising taxes (property owners are taking it yet again). The last decade of double digit spending increases has given the government a rather heavy addiction to our money.

 Miring through the budget documents is a painful exercise and the government works as hard as possible to find out exactly what they are spending all of our money on.

 The Executive Council is one department that seems to have been spared the savages of spending restraint. The Executive Council is the premier’s office of course. Bundled in with the Executive Council is the Public Affairs department that many fondly refer to as the premier’s ministry of truth.

 Last year the Executive Council got a funding increase of 27%. In light of our tighter times, they have limited the raise in funding this year to a paltry 20%.

 You see, in the eyes of Ed Stelmach it is much more important to convince Albertans that government is doing a good job as opposed to actually doing a good job. The Ministry of Truth employs 118 full time little monkeys who are tasked with producing pretty flyers, advertisements, press releases and lacklustre blogs that blow sunshine up the collective asses of Albertans.

 It is not hard to see why the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta is always rolling in money. The party needs not spend any of their own money on advertisers. The Public Affairs department spends almost $15 million per year telling Albertans why the Progressive Conservatives are heaven sent.

 With this tax-funded propaganda machine working around the clock, we can see part of why it is difficult to dislodge a government that has been in power for almost 40 years.

 Special Ed clearly sees this importance as well. Why else would he keep pumping these massive spending increases into that department in these times of supposed government restraint?


Trying to polish a turd.

 Yes I think the saying about the futility of polishing a turd is quite appropriate as we see Iris Evans somehow managing to table a record deficit budget and telling us it is “a good news story”. Geeze Evans, I shudder to think what you would consider a bad news story. In light of the Progressive Conservative’s astoundingly terrible fiscal management, I suspect that Evans will have to disclose a bad news budget within a year.

 I had the opportunity to go to the legislature and watch this travesty of a budget in person yesterday. Rest assured, the turd looks no more shiny when observed in person.

 The first order of business in the legislature was to sheepishly table a new version of the “fiscal responsibility act”. The reason for this of course is that the current budget is illegal. Sadly, when government breaks the law, they simply re-write the law. Sheepish is really not enough, the members of the Progressive Conservative government should all hang their heads in shame.

 The PCs are trying to present this as a budget of restraint. They have reduced the increased spending to match that of population growth plus inflation. That spending model is what fiscally wise people have been telling government to follow for over a decade. Sadly Special Ed is a decade late in figuring it out. Last summer we were projecting a surplus of almost $9 billion. In less than a year we are facing going almost $5 billion into the hole.

 The government is patting itself on the back for the fiscal restraint being shown. Reducing an increase is not an example of fiscal restraint, reducing spending is!


 Yes Evans is gazing into a crystal ball. You see, part of the budget is pure speculation. While the government is already admitting that they are spending $4.7 billion more this year than they are earning, they are sort of quiet about there being another $2.2 billion in revenue required to make their spending commitments. Essentially the government is praying that oil will massively spike in price in the next few months. If this spike does not occur, the real deficit is close to $7 billion.

 How much faith can we have in the prognostication powers of the government? Well considering the idiots were off on their projected revenue by over $10 billion over a period of some eight months or so, I must say that I am not terribly confident.

 The issue is not too complex. Our problem is not a sagging world economy or low commodity prices (though that does not help), our problem is that the government has been spending money like drunken sailors for over a decade.



 It does not take an economist to look at the above image and realize that Alberta has been on a collision course with deficit for years. Many voices from the Taxpayers Federation to the Fraser Institute to the Canadian Federation for Independent Business have been pointing this trend out to Stelmach for years. Stelmach blindly and idiotically ignored those voices and continued to piss away the hardearned tax-dollars of Albertans.

 How must it feel for those PC MLAs who sat in the legislature in the 90s? Those MLAs who endured the complaints and pressures to spend as Alberta tightened her belt and ended deficit financing? How does it feel to go so swiftly and deeply back into deficit after all that work guys? I watched the PC seals in the legislature pounding their desks in applause as Evans tabled that document which will place the burden of payment on our children. Can you guys really sleep at night? Have you any shred of principle left?

 This is the sad outcome of a government that has been in power for almost 40 years. There is no principle, there is no vision. The government exists for the Progressive Conservative Party’s interests. The interests of Albertans were discarded years ago. There will be no healing for this sick administration. They are entrenched, visionless and parasitic. The government takes no path aside from what they view as the path of least resistance. In cowardice they have bent to every spending demand and we now are all paying the price.

 Alberta needs to sweep this lost government from the legislature. We are prone to doing that every few decades. It is clear that such a housecleaning is more than in order now.

 The Wildrose Alliance Party is promoting fiscal responsibility and is wisely planning for Alberta’s future. Meetings are being held across the province and growth in the party is unprecedented. Despite the fast growth of the WAP, it will still be a tough and uphill battle to unseat a government that feels they are in power by divine right. It cannot be stressed enough how much Albertan’s need to shed their traditional apathy and to get involved. People need to work to make change. The campaign for election 2012 must begin now if we are to make change in Alberta. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it, they will not.

 If things are left as they are, we will be leaving a sad and shameful legacy to future generations in this province. To have so much potential wasted is intolerable.