Can Kenney Be Trusted?
There is a very unsettling and somewhat ugly reality emerging around the legitimacy of the Jason Kenney “win” of the UCP leadership. We have concerns about allegation on UCP member voting suppression and fraud where emails may have been substituted for some party member’s real emails. It appears leadership votes may have been made by others with redirected members voting credentials to corrupt forces. How very Republican.
We also have an alleged Kenney campaign collusion with a so-called “kamikaze” leadership candidate Jeff Callaway. One Callaway co-chair has already been hit with $15,000.00 of Elections Alberta fines for “interference with an investigation” but we have no details. We have the other Callaway co-chair stripped of his UCP constituency nomination by KenneyCons.
Can Kenney Be Believed?
As if that wasn’t enough to undermine Kenney’s leadership legitimacy, Brian Jean, has an Op-Ed questioning Kenney’s “fiscal fairy tales” towards a balanced budget and deficit pay down. Kenney touts corporate tax cuts that seriously reduce revenues with no guarantee of economic growth. He has a window-dressing 5% MLA pay cuts and no pay-cuts for civil servants. He also walked-back and declared health care is not the source of cost-cutting savings.
Jean notes Kenney exempts over 70% of the government spending from his fiscal hawk deficit reduction platform policy. So where must Kenney go for cost cuts? Agriculture, Education, Seniors, Transportation, services to children and other vulnerable citizens will have to bear the brunt. Kenney also want to eliminate the “job killing carbon tax” and ignores the positive impact it has on consumption, cleantech adoption and green infrastructure.
Is the NDP Any Better?
Jean also challenges the NDP’s economic growth assumptions needed to balance the budget. According to Jean the NDP needs a 22.3% GDP growth of $100B in the next 5 years. He also notes Kenney assumes his corporate tax cuts will add $113B in GDP, or 25.7% in 5 years. Given the new Alberta normal of slower economic growth both these scenarios are seriously unrealistic.
Jean Wants to Re-Klein Alberta
Jean has a Klein-like Alberta Advantage fiscal blind spot by declaring Alberta “does not have a revenue problem.” This is also not true. In fact if Alberta closed the total tax gap in half between today’s revenues and the next lowest province, we would have a balanced budget with no service cuts right now. Albertans want lots of quality government services. But we are resistant to pay our way with appropriate tax levels, instead we choose to subsidize public service costs with non-renewable resource revenues, that steals the resource birthright of future generations. Pure Klein fiscal folly that has devastated the Heritage Fund.
Time to Rethink Alberta
To my mind we need take a fiscal policy that more integrated, equitable, comprehensive, innovation and based on design thinking. We need to avoid a fiscal policy that repeats our wasteful Boom and Bust past. We can do better than being hidebound by an outdated Left versus Right hyper-partisan mindset. So how can we get growth and prosperity? We can start with increasing Alberta’s seriously lagging private and public sector productivity and innovation performance, especially in construction, manufacturing and energy sectors.
We can enhance efficiency through smarter and leaner business and regulatory process improvements. We can incentivize accelerated technological adoption and rapid reskilling our workforces for modern economic competencies. Being able to actually do the work is more vital to growth than degrees, diplomas and certificate based credentials.
This way we can, once again, become competitive and attract 21st century economic enhancing capital investment. With prudent public service investments, productivity and innovation based economic growth, all done with a serious sustainable commitment to environmental stewardship, Alberta will be the best example of a progressive, integrated, and comprehensive governance model for the world.
What Can You Do as a Progressive Albertan? One Word: VOTE!
All elections are about choices and changes, including the next one for Alberta. Will we choose the NDP Status Quo more of the same approach? Will we retreat to the Closed mindset of the outdated UCP offering? Or is Alberta ready for a more Open minded forward thinking Alberta Party option of serious choices and significant changes? Time will tell but it’s your vote, and that will make the difference.