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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I slag C.D. Howe...

I’m surprised the Journal does not have the Fraser Institute lined up for its next op-ed. ‘A guide for capitalizing on success’ article is fine example of the right wing cheerleading-schmaltz that regularly oozes the C.D. Howe Institute. The C.D. Howe shills recommendations can be summed up in three points; cut government spending, continue to deregulate the province and more tax breaks for business. Tempering this slavish pro-business sycophancy, is this throw away line about “Alberta should continue to insist on excellence in its educational system” in the article. Evidently artless casuistry is all Mr. Robson and Ms.Goldfarb have to offer the people of Alberta.

Alberta needs less pro-investment policy. Significantly less. We are, as countless letters to the editor have said, giving away our resources. Our paltry royalty regime brings nothing but smiles to the Big Oil corporate executives. If our government had anything resembling a backbone or cared a whit for the public-good our royalty rates would be starting around 20%. If Big Oil can continue in Venezuela under such ‘oppressive’ rates they can do it here in Alberta as well.

Currently we are told that the people of Alberta are getting such a great deal from the current resource boom. We hear that again and again in the media. Alberta is doing so well that we are actually laying off teachers, because bigger class sizes are better for kids. I’m sure it has something to do with fostering a competitive environment and of course ‘insisting on excellence’.

The popular discourse in the media is that Alberta is booming and that everyone is doing spectacularly well. Wealth will trickle down…we need less government and less regulation. These ideals are intellectually and socially bankrupt; however they do richly benefit certain sectors of society greatly. From this we get the curious dialectic of ‘What’s good for Business is good for everyone’ ideal, which is clearly a falsehood. What is good for Business is good for Business… period. These poisonous ideals are destroying the fabric of our society. What is required is a firm recommitment to the public-good and the social democratic ideals that Canada was founded on.