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.
Worse part is they will probably make cuts to essential services and keep the ccs. After the raises they gave themselves do they really think that they will be able to negotiate with the unions representing the public sector? If I worked in it I would not make the concessions after seeing this.
In June 2009 at a public Bill 19 meeting in Innisfail I stood at the mike and asked Jack Hayden why they were pushing this legislation through so fast while ignoring the problems their own incompetence had created. I specifically mentioned the $4.7 billion deficit and the bungling of the new royalty regime.
Hayden got quite miffed and gave me a little lecture about what good fiscal managers they were and what a superior health and education system we had! I wonder what he is saying now?
Doug.. He will likely be spewing the same bullshit, They are like lieberals and dippers, they won’t let facts get in the way of a good “sounding” line even though it is crap.
Last year they were announcing a new capital project it seemed every week. Then when the same capital projects went way over budget, or way over time allowance, they blamed the hot economy and worker shortage. Instead of holding back they just payed through the nose to get the work done so they could announce another one..
Politicians love stamping their names into history with legacy projects and that was what it was about. Iris Evans stood in the legislature and announced revenue windfalls and spending sprees, with such smugness, that she was almost proclaimed she and her cabinet colleagues were personally responsible for the provinces good fortune at the time.. They were monkeys on the good ship lollypop, in the right place at the right time.
Everyone knew it would turn down at some point, for god sakes I was 8 last time it happened, I still remembered enough economic pain in my own family even being 8 to know history would repeat itself, yet these bozo’s seemed to be in denial of the boom bust cycle..
They should have held the gates shut and not competed with private industry in the projects boom, saved the wad then used it as means of keeping the economic juggernaut rolling in Alberta. They could have debt free stimulus spending…
Now they are cancelling projects along with private industry, and for F sakes there was enough signs in early 2008 in the US to show the global economy was slowing.. But Blinders on full steam spending away…
And they voted themselves a 34% wage increase to boot..
I see they have now announced a $80 million cut in education, part of a plan to cut $430 million to keep the deficit at $6.9 billion!
Ms. Evans says no cuts to infrastructure. How about looking at keeping the infrastructure programs on budget?
At Innisfail they decided to “upgrade” the over pass. Three years later they pretty well have got her done! Costs over runs are horrendous…somebody got very rich on this little gem!
The MLA(transport minister L. Oulette) didn’t even know this construction had cut off access to local businesses. One gas station owner complained in the paper and the halfwit MLA didn’t even know the businesses had been assured access would be maintained during construction. Nothing was done for over 4 months!
It is really frustrating to have government officials who are too lazy or stupid to do their jobs? We really need to turf these clowns!