Oh Alberta! What a Fiasco!

What an Embarrassment!

In a triumph for colonial ideology, a majority of Albertans have once again chosen for their leaders the compradors of duplicitous, foreign-owned Big Oil.

Talk of a Ship of Fools! Like the passengers on a modern Titanic, with the fatal iceberg in plain sight for those who choose to look, they have opted to join their nutty captain and go down with the ship. She has even promised that, first thing in the morning, she will take steps to tie the wheel in place to ensure the ship won’t change course!

In a devastating demonstration of political immaturity, the majority has ignored the evidence, fallen for a campaign of misinformation, and chosen as Premier an incompetent, sophomoric, pretender. She is all the more dangerous because she will rightly assume her election is a corroboration of her bizarre and ill-informed opinions, and a mandate to implement her disastrous prescriptions for our economy, our environment, health care and education systems.

Perhaps the biggest lie of all in the campaign was the suggestion, unfortunately parroted by thoughtless media repetition, that the UCP, and the Conservatives before them, are competent economic managers, unlike the NDP. It is a claim that flies in the face of the evidence, and one that the NDP did a very poor job of counteracting.

Danielle Smith’s promise to pass, first thing, a law to cripple the government’s ability to raise taxes simply doubles down on the Conservative record of economic mismanagement of the province’s resource patrimony. She will tie Alberta even more firmly to its dependency on the turbulent, and uncontrollable, boom and bust cycle of oil and gas prices, all the more risky in the context of the climate emergency.

From the time Ralph Klein buried the relatively visionary, and truly conservative, policies of Peter Lougheed, the Conservatives, and now the UCP, have chosen to spend the province’s resource birthright. What might have been a story, like Norway’s, of husbanding resource revenues and intelligent reinvestment in diversifying the economy became, instead, a story of complicity with the colonial takeover of Alberta’s economy and political discourse by a rapacious oil industry.

Last night’s re-election of the hapless UCP is part of an unfolding tragedy, long in the making. The record profits of the oil industry have been further enriched with UCP tax cuts justified by a discredited economic trickle-down rationale, while the liabilities associated with the enormous environmental externalities grow into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Smith’s proposal for dealing with these liabilities the industry itself had promised to cover? Further tax breaks!

Only one example, from the energy sector, of a quiver-full of such idiocy from Smith and the UCP regarding almost every consequential policy field, from schooling to surgery, to pensions, to policing, to the environment and beyond.

This is what happens when the trolls win the day. It ain’t pretty.

By Peter Puxley

Hi, I'm Peter Puxley, an economist, geographer and urban planner by academic training, and a political organizer/activist, development educator, journalist, policy wonk, researcher and political staffer by practice. I have tried my hand at poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing, some of which has been published.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *