Huffpost Canada Alberta ca
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Vincent St. Pierre Headshot

Bite the Bullet, Redford -- The Bitumen Bubble

Posted: Updated:

2012-01-24 incompetence header

 

You know that State of the Province address that Ms. Allison Redford made Thursday night? About the "bitumen bubble"?

A party and a government can only be coy for so long.

Either you raise taxes or cut services to millions of Albertans. Or both. You can't make a balanced budget exist out of no where, although the  Redford Conservatives have tried by calling their previous budget balanced by excluding capital funding. Skirting the fundamental problems with Alberta's governing party can only go so far and a part in government can only run around the issue for so long before reality hits.

And that reality is that Alberta's tax regime is a relic of a bygone era. It's built not to be a consistent provider of funds to non-profits and it's built to leave a budget crunch after every downturn in oil prices. When the price differential between oil prices on the world stage increases or there's a glut in the market a government that bases almost a third of their spending on that resource, well, that's setting up Alberta for failure from the get go.

In the last election the Redford Conservatives pushed for a vision that said the people of Alberta could have it all. And this is where the awkwardness of her TV State-of-Province comes from: she said she wouldn't raise taxes and that she wouldn't cut spending, in a time and period where if you don't do either you send the province into billion dollars of debt.

So she'll pass leadership of this province off to a bunch of academic and third party consultants, dodging the promises she has made and continuing on with the consistently and constant failures of the Albertan government that has been the mainstay of the PCs for the forty plus years. It's more of the same.

Sadly, her broadcast sent the Albertan taxpayer another bill -- this time for $55,000 -- when she could have easily used a press announcement or a free public service announcement, which would give her the near same outreach to the Albertan public and protect the public's purse. It's called the Free Time Political Broadcasts Policy and it could have saved the taxpayer what would be another teacher in the classroom (at $58,000 for a freshly graduated teacher). So rather than another teacher in the classroom the Conservatives opted for a political announcement that could have been done cheaper and serve Albertans better.