Our Premier will not risk upsetting the people that got her elected

It would seem that our Premier has backed herself into a corner. I watched her speech on CTV last week. She made it clear that she wasn’t about to make cutbacks that would hurt the poor and vulnerable. However she did have a solution. She was going to have a conversation with influential Albertans. Brilliant! They will come up with the answers to her dilemma. I think she is a day late and a dollar short. That conversation should have taken place before she produced the 2012 budget. They might have informed her that the Alberta government did not have a revenue problem, it had a spending problem.
Who ever put together last Spring’s budget was dreaming in technicolor. She blames the price of bitumen for the budget short fall. The price was more or less the same then as it is now and the forecast price was projected to be in that ball park. So why were we presented with a fictional revenue projection?
Do you think it had something to do with an impending election? Not only did the premier present us with an unrealistic budget. She made additional promises of another six billion dollars during the election. With the help of 100,000 liberals that switched sides and the unions, surprise, surprise she won a large majority government. Now What?
She is not going to do the easy thing and raise taxes and she hasn’t indicated that she is going to do the smart thing and cut spending. So in her mind the most obvious thing to do is to have a conversation with Albertans and discuss ideas.
I wonder in this conversation about ideas if someone might suggest that we don’t need to spend billions of dollars on carbon sequestration, we don’t need to spend 350 million on a new provincial museum right now, we don’t need to spend 275 million to renovate an old Federal building for plush new digs for MLA’s right now. We could take a serious look at how much the provincial public sector is costing the province. According to some statistics that I saw the other day the average public sector wage is about 26 per cent higher than the comparable  private sector wage. I maintain that there are far too many public sector workers in Alberta in the first place. Just maybe reducing the size and wage level of the civil service might help.
On a per capita basis I think Alberta has the most expensive public sector in Canada. Alberta has had a problem with a bloated and top heavy civil service for a long time. In fact I think this has been at the root of the deficit problem for several years. The more the government has centralized services the more power has accumulated in the ivory towers. Bureaucrats are ingenious at figuring out how to create jobs to hire more bureaucrats. The most obvious place for the government to reduce spending is to reduce the size of the provincial bureaucracy. I’ll bet that idea won’t come up in her conversations. If truth be known, the bureaucrats run the government not the politicians.
Allison Redford is conservative in name only. The PC party of Alberta is conservative in name only. They are both philosophically liberal. That is why they will not make the budget cuts that need to be made to get Alberta back on a sound financial base. You can be sure that our Premier will not risk upsetting the people that got her elected. So the hard decision that she will make will be to continue the deficit and borrow money to make up for the short fall. They will use the excuse that they didn’t see the revenue short fall coming. Give her time and Alberta will look like Ontario does now!
Herman Schwenk

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