By Letter to the Editor on December 10, 2018.
Re: “Facts speak the truth on past PC governments,” Dec. 5
I want to thank Jim Taylor for taking the trouble to respond to my letter in last Saturday’s paper. Mr. Taylor, however, apparently missed the point I was making, so I am pleased for the opportunity to be able to revisit my concerns.
My point was that the leadership of at least one Progressive Conservative premier, Peter Lougheed, showed significant foresight and prudence. He warned his public of the need to put significant amounts of oil based revenue into a Heritage Trust Fund. His intention, as I mentioned, was to avoid the kinds of volatility disasters that have plagued this province in the last 30 years.
Had his suggestions been heeded by those PCs who followed, it is likely that two results would have changed the history and the fortunes of many Albertans. First, workers would have been better protected against the vicissitudes of the markets and would have been helped in preparing for alternative employment, and second, alternative energy projects would have prepared Albertans for the world of 2018.
Premiers after Lougheed did not share his wisdom nor his foresight. Instead they abandoned future-oriented leadership and took the low road. I do not think I am overstating when I say that successive PC governments self-servingly bought the voting public through artificially low taxes and the absence of a sales tax. Of course the people didn’t object. We’ve all been trained to bark at increased taxes. But sometimes governments are asked to lead, and not just to appease the people and mollify investors. Successive PC governments failed to lead. They own the mess the province is in today.
Mr. Taylor seems to suggest that it is the dreaded equalization payments that account for the differences in the Savings Funds of Alberta ($17 billion) and Norway ($1,100 billion). I simply have to, apologetically, call that one of the dumbest arguments I’ve heard. Please, Mr. Taylor, if the word “Canada” means anything to you, you need to stop whining about equalization payments. Of course that might be a little too much to ask.
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