By Letter to the Editor on December 5, 2018.
The saying goes that hindsight is always 20-20, but there seems to be an exception when it is the myopic hindsight of Liberal cheerleader Peter Mueller on Alberta’s political past.
First of all, Mueller confuses the far-right SoCred governments with the centrist Progressive Conservatives and lumps them together under the title of Conservatives. The PC rise to power under Peter Lougheed was a response to the far right social conservatism of the Social Credit. With their mandates the PCs governed to the middle of the political spectrum as espoused by Premier Lougheed, the challenge, of course, being determining where the middle lay.
Mueller goes on to characterize these governments as short-sighted, mismanaged and tone deaf. Yet the facts speak the real truth. Billions saved in the Heritage Trust Fund and Sustainability Fund is hardly mismanagement and this saving to hedge against volatility is hardly short-sighted. How could it be in Mueller’s view, when planning for volatility is the tact he is advocating?
Should Mueller attend an optometrist he would also see that Norway, as a country, is vastly different from Alberta, as a province within a country. Norway pays no equalization payments for example. How much would have been in the two funds mentioned above if Albertans didn’t have to send money to Ottawa?
Mueller’s dirty reading glasses also seem to have abandoned him on a comparison of tax rates between Norway and Alberta. In Norway the income tax rate is approximately 50 per cent. The PC governments chose to keep taxes low using oil revenues to do so. I don’t recall reading any letters from any taxpayer, especially not Mueller, complaining about our low tax rate for those 44 years. As for being tone deaf, Mr. Mueller must have forgotten, or lost his glasses, when it comes to the repeated and regular consultation of the PC governments asking Albertans’ advice, especially with respect to oil revenues.
Finally, I had a hearty laugh when Mueller characterized the NDP as pragmatic and less doctrinaire. It is far from pragmatic to impose a tax on carbon during an economic crisis, tantamount to throwing gasoline (including carbon tax) on a burning house. It is uber doctrinaire to do so in order to look green (the tax does not reduce emissions) to attempt to acquire a social licence that we have found does not exist as witnessed by the feds’ refusal to support Alberta by getting pipelines built.
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