Following the yellow jacket protests spreading across Europe, thousands of energy industry supporters rallied across Alberta on the weekend to express frustration with a ‘laundry list’ of issues from the carbon tax and stalled pipelines under a second
Trudeau PM to equalization that has sent hundreds of billions of dollars from western Canada to an often ungrateful eastern Canada, especially Quebec.
We need solutions as well as complaints.
Before we fix Ottawa, let’s look at Edmonton.
For most of the past 75 years, Alberta has been an attractive place for investment from around the world. Not any more.
Our regulatory burden is too big, our cost of government services about 30 per cent higher than other provinces, let alone American states.
With 20 per cent of taxpayers paying approximately 80 per cent of our taxes, our penalty for success is too high.
No wonder we’re seeing a ‘flight of capital’ Jack Mintz and others have called “breathtaking”.
Our provincial government spends approximately $13,000 per capita for the services we take for granted.
The Canadian provincial average is approximately $10,000, so reducing our costs just to that average would save $3,000 times four million residents, or $12 billion, roughly 20 per cent of the provincial budget.
We’re told it can’t be done, that such cuts would be savage, that services would be devastated.
The private sector is constantly adjusting to new realities to remain competitive.
Why not bureaucrats and politicians?
It’s time for the famous Alberta can-do spirit.
Instead of looking for someone to blame, let’s do what we’ve always done: identify the problem and then fix it.
And let’s not wait for politicians to show us the way.
Ralph Klein famously said, “Show me a big enough parade and I would be happy to lead it”.
So, it’s time for frustrated energy workers and taxpayers to demand that our political leaders make the same tough choices our private businesses have had to.
It’s the way forward, and it’s time to take it.
Danny Hozack , Chairman, Economic Education Association