January 15th, 2021

UCP efforts a hindrance, not a help


By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on November 27, 2020.

Since I last had the opportunity to write this column, I’ve noticed so many of our neighbours setting up their Christmas lights and holiday displays a bit early this year. There can be no doubt that we are all exhausted by the challenges this year has brought, and many of us are doing our best to bring a bit of extra light to our community as things seem to be getting darker – both in terms of the number of hours of daylight, and in our renewed fight against the coronavirus and the economic challenges the pandemic has served to emphasize and lay bare. 
Unlike the residents of Lethbridge who are going out of their way to make a bad situation a little bit better for our neighbours and families, the Kenney government seems to be taking the opposite approach: piling on to make a bad situation worse. Not only is his government’s inaction on the pandemic and its ill-advised war on health-care workers making our struggle with COVID more challenging, it’s harming job prospects and our economic recovery. 
First, let’s make one thing clear: there is no economic recovery without winning the fight against COVID. This is not a one-or-the other situation. So many of our small businesses will not survive so long as their customers are perpetually concerned about the health impacts of going out to eat, to shop, or simply to have a coffee with a friend, or when these same small businesses are concerned about the implications of surging case counts and possible new restrictions. Small businesses rely on stability and customer confidence to do what they do, and Jason Kenney’s negligence to do much of anything on the file is inspiring neither. 
Even if the Kenney government is not responsible for all of COVID’s impact on jobs and the economy (though it’s clear they bear a good deal of responsibility), we should look at how their actions outside the pandemic response portend for employment in our province generally, and our community and region in particular. Despite coming to power yelling loudly and beating their chests about jobs, economy and pipelines, they have done very little on any of these, and have in fact been disastrous for most of them. On jobs, we have seen Alberta’s unemployment rate above the national average, and the last labour force survey from Statistics Canada shows unemployment in our province almost two per cent higher than that national average. That same report shows that the few sectors that are producing post-pandemic increases in employment, such as health care and social assistance, are the exact same sectors which the government is looking to cut! Not only is this bad for workers in these sectors and those looking for work – it’s bad for our provincial economy, and our city’s economy in particular. And none of this even touches on the massive rollbacks for which many staff at our post-secondary institutions are bracing themselves, or the 20-per-cent cuts they’ve already survived. 
There is also the matter of prudent management of the economy writ-large and the provincial treasury. This month, Alberta’s Auditor General had stern warnings for the government, determining that the Kenney government’s financial statements required $1.6 billion in adjustments after the government had failed to do its due diligence on the implications of various oil and gas deals. These half-thought-out schemes, seemingly designed to throw money around haphazardly, coupled with the UCP’s distaste for economic diversification projects, have left our province’s economy lagging behind other provinces, and losing ground to jurisdictions around the world that have prioritized innovation and diversification.
All of this is to say that the government of the day has made matters worse. They have dimmed our health prospects, and by doing so threw cold water on the few sparks of economic promise they didn’t smother when they came to office. Businesses and other employers in our community need support through this tough time, but unfortunately have seen nothing but bluster from our premier and his ministers. 
Fortunately, the Alberta NDP caucus has been busy working with Albertans to find solutions to our pressing problems. We have a six-point plan to beat back COVID so that we can keep our schools open and provide stability and support to small businesses and workers impacted by the pandemic, and we are working hard on “Alberta’s Future,” an initiative we have launched to hear from Albertans about what they want to see our economy look like. These efforts and plans, combined with our willingness to present specific, concrete proposals and work with the government wherever possible, is what Alberta needs right now: a government that is in it for Albertans, not just ourselves, and that can change course when necessary. 
As always, please reach out to our constituency office if you require assistance, or if you would like to share your input into the Alberta’s Future project. We can be reached at Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca or at 403-329-4644.
Shannon Phillips is the NDP MLA for the Lethbridge West riding. Her column appears the fourth Friday of the month.

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johnny57

“We have a six point plan to beat back covid”.. No thanks Shannon! Southern Alberta saw your governments plan to run and manage our SCS and what a “boondoggle” it was! We won’t be sucked-in again!

buckwheat

The usual “let me clear” verbiage from the opposition MLA. Where is the link to your 6 point plan. As usual you get the “we are smarter” and they are “useless” dialogue in that the MLA fails continually to remember that she represents all of her constituents whether they voted for her or not.

Dennis Bremner

Ms Phillips, you have proven your worth to Lethbridge by your promised “unfunded” plans that were to make Lethbridge a better place. The only thing you managed to fund was your SCS and lightbulbs. So your 6 point plan to beat back COVID must be some one else’s idea, that you want to take credit for!
NDP are always best in opposition, they demand, the righteous, pious, nirvana approach that always has a theoretical perfect solution, with an unlimited price tag attached. When in power, they flail, and spend money like a drunken sailor on their unions and public servant party support.
The difficulty we have in Alberta, is we have a “flailing NDP” coupled with a “rudderless UCP” and a “never to be elected Liberal Party” making choices literally that fall in the range of dumb, dumber and dumbest.
So I see in the future, a rise in the Separatist parties of Alberta, because of all your ineptness, which tells you exactly where you stand in the eyes of Albertans!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner
Southern Albertan

Despite the AB NDP naysayers, they are well up in the ratings, in fact, way better than the flailing Jason Kenney UCP….no matter what is said.
Perhaps the majority of Albertans are finally waking up and good on them!
Here is a good explanation of the Jason Kenney UCP drastic drop in popularity:
“OPINION I The politics behind Jason Kenney’s ‘tepid’ response to COVID-19. How did a skilled politician like Kenney end up in this situation? We offer a few hypotheses.”
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/road-ahead-jason-kenney-alberta-covid-politics-1.5818058

Dennis Bremner

The NDP will be re-elected when UCP is done their mandate. What no one appreciates or states is that there has been a precipitous drop in revenues at the same time COVID struck.
What I will enjoy is watching the NDP say, they can do nothing but rack up more bills to reload the Public Service and Unions during their next tenure. No idea why CBC or anyone else cannot see the writing on the wall. No other province other than Alberta has had 3 whammies in a row that have killed our revenue stream.
I suppose I do see why CBC does not see the writing, they never see the writing on the wall? So when NDP comes back, and the Alberta Party is in opposition, it will be interesting to watch all these closet NDP attempt once again to rebuild the PS and Unions but at the same time cut the rest of Albertans off of any benefits of living here.

Southern Albertan

What are the Kenney UCP doing to explore other avenues of revenue? Does anyone believe that the Scott Moe right wingers in Saskatchewan are frittering away their 6% PST which they recently raised from 5%? If Alberta had a 6% PST, it would bring in about $11 billion/year…..kind of looks good to solve deficit woes. The AB NDP had a carbon tax rather than a PST with rebates to low income earners. That money was being used to diversify Alberta’s economy, and, without doing damaging cutbacks to education and health care. We cannot depend on oil and gas booms anymore, so all politics in Alberta, need, to explore other avenues of revenue, just like every other jurisdiction in Canada has done the work to do.

Dennis Bremner

Not suggesting your solution is wrong, but perhaps you might want to think of the hundreds of thousands out of work from the Oil/Gas industry and COVID closures. Do you think they can afford another 5-6% on their food, gas, NG bills?
So its about timing I would suggest. You know, as any governing party knows, anyone bringing a PST will be tossed. The NDP will pull a Chretien (GST) and suggest they would toss the PST if given power again, and once in, would then decide they need it.
It really boils down to which group of liars you want. The only thing that could have been better is if the UCP lost and the NDP were in the position to get rid of their own supporters in the Unions because they cannot pay the bills. So they would have bought in a PST to save their supporters.

Southern Albertan

Many previous oil and gas sector workers have already, transitioned into other sectors, and, the oil and gas sector isn’t completely gone, nor will it ever be, so some employees there are still working. In the big picture, Albertans are still contributing to the $billions/year in equalization which is based on personal income, so it tells us that many Albertans are still, very financially, well off. As always with PSTs and GSTs, the bigger the spending, the more is paid in PST/GST. After all, the PST on 1 ton duellies/RVs, ATVs, new houses with new appliances, furniture, etc. (of which there are many in our area), is the opposite of not spending money at all, I guess. Governments have to be very careful when thousands of jobs have been lost and seeming to probably generate thousands more in job losses by doing austerity cutbacks. It could drive Alberta further into recession yet. This, again, is why the AB NDP carbon tax which was being invested into diversifying Alberta’s economy, was a wise thing to do. After all, renewable tech, now and into the future, will generate millions/billions of jobs globally. Will Alberta fall behind or is it already falling behind? There’s nothing like long range planning eh?

Dennis Bremner

I once listened to a fellow by the name of McGuinty pronounce the same thing “After all, renewable tech, now and into the future, will generate millions/billions of jobs globally. ”
He shut down coal plants, and went whole hog into windmills and solar because he was going to save the planet and generate 100s of thousands of jobs in the industry.
Fast forward 25 years and Ontario Hydro, charges the highest price for electricity in Canada. It never did create jobs and now they are trying to figure out how too lessen the financial burden it created for Hydro. So before you assume renewable tech will create huge jobs globally, I highly suggest you check the dissolving Solar/wind industry in Germany and Ontario before making the same statement again.

Fescue

And here is a more informed telling of the same tale.
https://www.orec.ca/nuclear-energy-in-ontario/

Last edited 1 month ago by Fescue
Dennis Bremner

That is far from accurate. What is not considered in that mathematical wizardry is McGuinty and his Liberals promised to pay 18c a KW for anyone who would generate electricity in Ontario. What he did not expect is how many farmers and land owners decided to do so. They got the McGuinty subsidy to put up solar panels or wind, and started generating electricity. Every month they send in their bill for electricity produced. Every month Ontario Hydro pays for it…sounds pretty easy right? Oh I forgot to mention 47% of those electrical generation units are nowhere near the grid, so dump the electricity into big RESISTORS. It seems it was decided that it was too costly to run a grid connect, but McGuinty signed a 30 year agreement with anyone that wanted to generate electricity. So don’t kid yourself, the cost for McGuinty’s fiasco is far more than is stated, in debt repayment which is not covered under the “breakdown” that you suggest is a more “informed” explanation. McGuinty also cancelled 2 Electrical Generation Gas Plants when both were more than half finished to try to secure two more seats and stay in power. Cost to Ontario Hydro and debt repayment? $2billion bucks! The electrical generation in KW is 1/5th of Ontario’s electrical bill. Nice try Fescue, wrong again!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner
Southern Albertan

For now though, we are seeing many wind turbines going up in the Pincher Creek, AB area and there are the new solar facilities coming up in Alberta, as well. The info is all available online.

Kal Itea

Too Much freedom Is a Dangerous Thing: Will Jason Kenney Defeat Himself?
I hope so.
https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2020/11/29/too-much-freedom-is-a-dangerous-thing-will-jason-kenney-defeat-himself/



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