Is Canadian Media exacerbating national division because it’s lucrative? Postmedia almost fulfilled their goals to elect Andrew Scheer – like the U.S. media did when they helped to elect Trump – and often portrayed Alberta as a rising hotbed of separatist angst when the #Wexit noise really comes from a minority of discontented Conservatives having a temper tantrum.
Gaslighting: “This idea of Alberta as this poor, woe begotten, economic basket-case is a myth, one that opposition politicians here like to trade on. But it’s a fairy tale.”
Divisive politicians like Doug Ford and Jason Kenney prefer preaching from their bully pulpits rather than using Diplomacy and Statecraft – an extinct Progressive Conservative art form. However, the Canadian backlash to Kenney’s belligerence has begun: see below.
Doug Ford also faced backlash in Ontario given LPC’s recent win in that Province. Having Jason Kenney campaigning for CPC in Ontario, given Doug Ford’s toxicity in his own Province because of significant cuts while increasing the deficit, didn’t translate into votes for them at the federal level.
Before we get into Wexit temper tantrums, lets talk about the Conservative Gut & Cut ideology which is often accomplished by stealth. The ideology of Deficit-Haters demonizes taxes to the point of self-destruction, guts fiscal capacity so that the services people depend on must be cut to pay for revenue shortfalls; and, finally, to raise costs & taxes for average citizens – often surreptitiously in order to subsidize Corporate welfare.
Award-winning economists and groups like the International Monetary Fund understand that austerity or major cuts in a recession prolongs the misery, deepens the recession, and delays recovery. More pain is coming for Alberta and it’s heart-wrenching to see as it’s unnecessary given their fiscal capacity is huge if they implemented a policy of fair and sustainable taxation instead of Corporate Welfare, painful cuts, and downloading costs to the vulnerable and municipalities that will need to raise taxes to cover the shortfalls in their revenue stream.
It’s interesting to note that while UCP gave Husky $233 million in tax cuts, they are using it to invest in other provinces. Ditto for Imperial Oil which will invest in other countries. Big Oil is also distributing the cuts to its shareholders & to buy back shares.
According to former Premier Rachel Notley who had a plan to balance the budget one year later than the UCP and without the cuts to services or revenue, “We are paying more, we are getting much less, in order to subsidize a major handout to profitable corporations, and we are not actually making progress on the deficit or debt, compared to the plan we had in place….””
See our Economics category for more info, especially Part 1, our Blog on Kenney’s debunked trickle-down economic myth that Socialism for the wealthy leads to growth, and how Alberta’s deficits are a choice.
Calgary office space which once housed energy workers “…will remain conspicuously empty as the government waits for the return of a past that’s destined to stay there — and ignores the possibilities of a future it doesn’t want to acknowledge.”
“If you elect people who have spent a long time studying and opposing sneaky tax increases … they will know how to deploy them against you“
EXCERPT: “But surely nothing in the budget is as surprising and tragicomic as the choice to de-index tax bracket boundaries, tax credits, and adult welfare payments. This is something that nobody, I think, saw coming — something it would have been positively difficult to imagine the UCP government doing. And it has had the effect of uniting the New Democrats with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in what is surely history’s unlikeliest popular front.”
EXCERPTS: “Kenney’s first provincial budget, with huge spending cuts that will expose Albertans to extreme pain — yet cut corporate tax by $4.5 billion over the next four years….”
“Kenney is a different kind of ideologue: Deficit-Hater. He is raising taxes by stealth, by increasing tuition, raising fees for services, and ending indexing on personal tax. Alberta could not have picked a worse time to elect a deficit demon bent on cutting education, health and social services, you know, the soft stuff.”
“Ontario Premier Doug Ford is [also] a service-cutting anti-deficit ideologue (who has raised the deficit, imagine that). Look at his popularity, so damaged that it helped re-elect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”
“As for Kenney’s claim that this is “the most important Alberta budget in 25 years,” deficit ideologues always grandstand.”
“No one complains as much as Kenney. He’s even worse than Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, a former bankrupt farmer whom nothing pleases. Farmers’ eternal frustration is that they can’t control the weather — ill-timed and implacable — so they complain to the federal government, which doesn’t control the weather either.”
“Beware politicians whose message is based on feelings, not thought. Ask voters what they think, not what they feel. “Many Albertans feel betrayed,” Kenney says. Because the rest of Canada didn’t vote Conservative?” [emphasis added]
Budget 2019 delivers almost $9b in debt, $2b more than under the NDP. The alleged “fiscally responsible” party is running 20% higher deficits than the NDP
EXCERPTS: “Alberta’s net financial debt will continue to grow under the UCP, with Budget 2019 estimating that the province will have $46.4 billion more debt than assets by 2022.
In the NDP’s last year in government, Alberta’s annual debt interest charges were $1.971 billion, an increase from $0.776 billion in 2015. The UCP’s budget will see Alberta’s debt interest charges increase to $3.013 billion by 2022.”
“…In other words, the UCP is giving a significant tax cut to large corporations, and one of the ways it intends to make up the difference is by making all tax-paying Albertans more in personal income tax each year.”
“”The UCP is eliminating tuition and education tax credits and the post-secondary education tuition cap, meaning tuition could rise as much as 7% in each of the next three years (page 75), making post-secondary education less accessible.”
“There will be major cuts to all of the large government ministries over the four years, including:
- Health care will be increased 1.3% by 2022, which is a cut of over 17% when inflation and population growth are taken into account.
- K-12 education funding is frozen over the four years, which is a 18% cut when inflation and population growth are taken into account.
- Post-secondary education will be cut 11.8% over the four years, which is about a 30% cut when inflation and population growth are taken into account.
- The budget for Children’s Services is increasing 15.2% by 2022, but this is actually a cut of 2.9% when inflation and population growth are accounted for. Spending on child care will decrease by slightly more than 8% factoring in inflation and population growth.
- The Ministry of Seniors and Housing will have its budget frozen for the four years, which is a 18% cut when inflation and population growth are taken into account.
- The Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women will be cut by 33% over four years, which is a 51% cut when inflation and population growth are taken into account.
- In the Ministry of Labour, the UCP is eliminating the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), a long-standing program that helps youth find summer employment, after the 2019 program year (page 108)”
“The UCP government’s inaugural budget is unsurprising, given its consistent promises of austerity and “sacrifices.” The government considers itself to have a “strong mandate” to enact sweeping cuts now, and over the course of the next three budgets. However, the government has not yet delivered on other promises of higher employment rates and expanded resource revenue, and, as stated above, its economic projections are, at best, optimistic.”
Nick Hanauer – from a Barack Obama speech:
“The Economy doesn’t grow from the top down. The Economy grows from the middle out.”
Podcast – Episode 8: How the Economy Really Works: “Tax cuts for rich people don’t create jobs”!
This is a Klein redux. Alberta needs a sales tax. Unsustainable cuts to essential services for a Province with a massive fiscal capacity it chooses not to implement b/c of ideology is reckless, shortsighted, and moronic.
“The Alberta budget outlines that education funding will be frozen at $8.2 billion per year. But the Alberta Teachers’ Association says that’s not good enough” because the Government is “asking teachers to do more with less” as there are 60,000 new students who are not being funded properly.
Everything in this Alberta budget will amount to increasing costs for parents and taxpayers.
“Compared to what they would have got using last year’s funding rates and this year’s student population, school boards will be short more than $275 million, according to the latest estimate from association spokesman Jonathan Teghtmeyer.”
“When asked why a school like Alberta University of the Arts, with a $399,200 average surplus, will be impacted by the cuts but Concordia, with a $1,777,782 average surplus, won’t be, Chandler did not respond.”
A leading Alberta economist weighs in: Yes, Alberta’s budget raises taxes. Yes, it cuts AISH. No, it’s not ‘austerity.’
EXCERPT: “The government’s advertisements suggesting no taxes were raised are disingenuous at best and Orwellian at worst.”
EXCERPTS: “”We’re going to have a lot of work to do to determine which projects are going to have to be cancelled that will be affected by this, that will have an economic impact in terms of jobs in terms of consumer confidence,” Iveson said.”
“The city’s chief economist, John Rose, said he’s concerned the government’s projections on economic growth and oil prices are on the high end. The budget forecasts the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate to range from $57 US this year to $63 by 2022-23.”
EXCERPTS: “Measures proposed in Bill 20:
- End the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, Capital Investment Tax Credit, Community and Economic Tax Credit, Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit.
- End education and tuition tax credits.
- Repeal the city charters for Edmonton and Calgary and put a new Local Government Fiscal Framework Act in its place.
- Suspend indexation of tax brackets for income tax system, saving the government at least $600 million by the end of 2022-23 fiscal year.
- End the Lottery Fund and move the money into general revenue.
- End the Access to the Future Fund, the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund.
- Roll the Alberta Child Benefit and Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit into the single Alberta Child and Family Benefit.
- Increase tobacco tax rate.
- Amend the funding agreements for LRT in Edmonton and Calgary so provincial cash can come after 2023.
Measures proposed in Bill 21:
- Temporarily suspend indexation of benefits for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support and the Seniors Lodge Program.
- Provide more detailed quarterly financial reports.
- Exclude budget officers, systems analysts, auditors and employees who perform similar functions from bargaining units.
- Reverse the replacement worker ban in the public sector.
- End tuition freeze for three years.
- Increase student loan interest by one per cent.
- End regulated rate option cap for electric.
- Allow health minister to place conditions on new practitioner identification numbers.
[forcing Doctors to practice in rural areas was tried in BC and it failed in BC]
- Allow changes to the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association.
- Allow minister to change through regulation how municipalities pay for policing.
- Change how the province uses fine money it collects on behalf of municipalities.
- Allow the government to have greater oversight over collective bargaining with public sector employees, including the length of the agreement, and the use of salary surveys.
- Subjecting funding for disasters to a supply vote in the legislature.”
Alberta’s carbon tax funded two dozen green energy and energy efficiency programs. What happens now?
EXCERPT: “Cutting the tax was at the top of the United Conservative government’s list after winning the April provincial election. According to Thursday’s budget documents, that decision also meant the government lost $1.1 billion in potential tax revenue. The tax also supported roughly two dozen green energy and efficient appliance programs, including a number focused on Indigenous communities.”
Plan to roll back public employees’ pay is no surprise, but the way it’s being rolled out seems surprisingly inept
For those who don’t remember Klein cuts that resulted in thousands of layoffs, he had to hire head hunters not long after to recruit nurses & police back to Alberta.
EXCERPTS: “…… there is already a shortage of RNs in Alberta. So the 3-per-cent pay cut the government wants to impose on UNA members also makes no sense….”
“When Alberta’s finance minister announced the Kenney Government’s plan to roll back unionized public employees’ pay by 2 to 5 per cent yesterday, he blamed Alberta’s debt and deficit, not the huge hole he’d just blown in the province’s budget with $4.5-billion in tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations.”
The total cost of cancellations of the Crude By Rail, to taxpayers was a whopping 1.5 Billion. Pg 16. Overview, Fiscal Plan 2019-23
They’re easy to translate if you know the wealth-transfer hustle. In BC, we know it too well.
EXCERPTS: ” After 40 years [of neoliberalism], inequality has become the new normal, and Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party sees no reason not to continue business as usual. He doesn’t even need a recession, just the threat of one, to deliver tax cuts to corporations and the rich and cut services to citizens. And as always, the wealth transfer is camouflaged by words.”
EXCERPTS: “The cycle of conservative fury and reaction hasn’t stopped for Albertans.
It started with relentless attacks on Rachel Notley and her government, it peaked in the 2019 federal election with the absurd suggestion that Justin Trudeau be hung for treason. And it went into overdrive when two-thirds of Canadians elected enough progressive MPs to allow the Liberals to form a strong minority government.
All that conservative anger and outrage failed to deliver the desired result, a Conservative government, so they moved on to Plan B: if the conservatives can’t tear down the Liberal government, they’ll tear down confederation.”
Ted Morton “… misrepresents how equalization works to argue the “vote-poor” West is being forced to subsidize “vote-rich” Quebec and says Trudeau must respond with political or structural fixes to benefit the West or Albertans will take up the cry “No taxation without representation.””
“This is a goofy argument.
Let’s start by acknowledging that Canada’s political system promotes voter equality by accommodating deviations from riding to riding (for example urban ridings are consistently larger by population than rural ridings). It has never been based on who has the best GDP.”
The problem with Morton’s position is the right to elect representatives does not translate into the right to form government.
And maybe that’s what this rage, fear, and anger is about. The Conservatives did not form government. [emphasis added]
Frankly, that’s a good thing.
When the conservatives formed government in the last provincial election, Kenney’s government passed an austerity budget, bet the house on global oil prices (still down) and offered tax cuts to corporations in the hope they would create jobs (they didn’t).
When the conservatives formed government federally, Harper’s government failed to deliver a pipeline to tidewater, gutted environmental laws and botched the consultation process so badly that every pipeline project ended up in court. [SEE: Prelude to Northern Gateway]
Albertans have a right to be angry, but before they charge out the door yelling “Wexit” they should consider the role they played in pushing Alberta to this point by electing politicians who consistently let them down.”
Trickle down economics has never worked according to award-winning economic experts and the IMF but Conservatives are stuck in the past and operate on emotion, not evidence-based decisions.
UCP could have turned their tax cuts into tax credits making them conditional to their investment in Alberta workers and the AB economy but instead they gave wealthy corporations a blank cheque and they spent the money elsewhere!
““Some of them are using it to buy back shares and to reposition (and) balance their books. It’s the same as when you come across a windfall as a private citizen, you pay down the mortgage,” Savage said in an interview.
“We would like to see that money being invested into jobs. We’d like to see it being invested into projects; we’d like it to stay here in Alberta to create jobs.
Ex-oil-lobbyists like Sonya Savage and college dropouts like Jason Kenney know nothing about modern economics but operate on emotion and the debunked economic myths of neoliberalism:
“Arm yourself against the “avalanche of bulls#%t ” the Kenney government is about to dump on our province“
EXCERPTS – University of Calgary Faculty of Law: “…it is reasonable to think that Indigenous peoples would expect to be full negotiating partners in any movement toward Albertan or Western secession. Given these legal realities, it is remarkable that public figures discussing secession haven’t acknowledged this fundamentally important dimension in any meaningful way.
But implicit in suggestions of Wexit and Albexit that do not account for the central role of Indigenous peoples is a denial of Indigenous peoples’ political agency and their rights of self-determination. The only way to begin a conversation about the secession of a Canadian province without considering the role of Indigenous peoples is to ignore their place in the constitutional order.”
This is a media fail. Most people with critical thinking skills knew these people were whackadoodles yet the majority coverage we saw by Postmedia was that PMJT was responsible for the rise of Separatism in the west.
Jason Kenney is a conspiracy theorist and not only condones the behavior of these seditionists, he encourages it.
It’s a proposal that experts are calling an “empty threat,” an idea overblown by social media and a scenario that Alberta is “very, very far from.”
Jason Kenney’s Allies Are Floating Separatist Talking Points After the Defeat of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives
“There is a war against Alberta,” says UCP organizer holding meeting to discuss the “unification of the separatist factions in Alberta”
‘People up there are pissed’ says former B.C. MP who thinks his riding has more in common with Alberta
Important to note that these are small rural communities that have been hard hit because they rely on resource extraction like logging and O&G. Heavily populated centers don’t share their views on Wexit or their pain. BC’s economy is strong.
See Forestry crisis has B.C. town hanging by a thread for more info the closing mills in BC!
Contrary to CPC gaslighting that they won the “Popular Vote” – an American term without relevance here – this is what vote splitting did in Canada’s federal election:
“With a wonderful #ScheerlessTuesday, Canada has shown the world we will not fall to the .@CPC_HQ‘s shameful and divisive rhetoric. Well done Canada.
I have put together an analysis of the ridings which were split but would’ve gone progressive.”
Part 1 Conservative Economics Gutting Fiscal Capacity
Part 2 Conservative Economics
Part 3 UCP Economics Alberta – the Mackinnon report
Part 4: Conservative Economic rhetoric is Gaslighting
Equalization and Alberta
Gaslighting an entire Province: Alberta
Alberta: Help Canadians Understand
Neoliberalism: tax cuts not delivering benefits claimed