By Letter to the Editor on June 18, 2020.
The UCP playbook is old, worn and tattered. The prologue is missing – think the Lougheed era. And yet again Albertans are on the edge of being subjected to that worn-out game plan, just like the repeating theme in Harlequin Christmas movies.
We will be told that oil and gas is king and that we must protect the overpaid jobs. And, to that end, the narrative will be that Albertans cannot afford our overpaid public-sector employees. But, nothing will acknowledge the Alberta Advantage was for all in the context of Alberta having a medium family income in excess of $10,000 and up to $18,000 over the poorest province.
So Alberta will commit funding to a single sector, as that old playbook calls for massive cuts to the public sector. This strategy will be executed through unilateral legislation to accomplish the single-minded agenda. Albertans are uniting as the pandemic proceeds. Many are tired of the decisions affecting the cancellation of the master agreement with the AMA, the transfers of nurses’ and teachers’ pensions to AIMCo along with the threat to transfer our CPP to AIMCo. Decisions made during the billion-dollar losses of AIMCo due to investments in the oil-and-gas sector. Politics in Alberta are a fickle dilemma – support the extreme right or the extreme left. 2020 is similar to the short-lived Prentice government when the Conservatives did not get it.
Fortunately many know how to solve the Alberta reality of living the biggest farce of our adult lives. That being, accepting oil and gas cannot and has not paid our way, and never will. There are too many boom-and-bust realities from 1975.
Let’s just get on with solving our deficit budget, debt retirement and providing the highest quality public services. There is a simple solution for a province that has the highest median family income with the lowest income tax – a provincial sale tax. Imagine a new playbook when the windfall royalties are purposed for a long-term plan. Alberta has only an $18-billion legacy in our Heritage Trust Fund managed by the Conservative stewards for 41 years.
Lougheed had the vision, but the Conservatives have acted without due diligence, while continually demanding improved results from the public sector.
Yes, Jason Kenney, Albertans have a financial reckoning. Perhaps you will turn on your hearing aids, stop the gutting of the public sector and revoke the unilateral decisions.
John E. Percevault