Like many Albertans, I am keenly aware of what this province has given to me and to my family. We love Alberta and want the opportunities that we experienced to be available when our grandkids have grandkids.
Throughout most of Alberta’s history, the level of government and taxation in peoples’ lives has been a fraction of what it is today. The embracing of runaway government and excessive spending really got underway about 11 years ago, when Ed Stelmach became premier. Stelmach boosted government spending by over 20 per cent in his first year as premier.
Then came Alison Redford who was so outrageous that she was forced from office. She was followed by Jim Prentice who along with Danielle Smith undermined Alberta’s conservative political apparatus, which put Rachel Notley in the premier’s chair.
Unfortunately, Notley doesn’t seem to actually understand wealth creation or economics. Not long ago she boasted about her government having created 48,500 jobs. The Financial Post responded by pointing out that 41,900 of those jobs were in the public sector, financed by massive deficits. Many say that Notley now has Alberta on track to a $100 billion debt by the early part of the next decade.
Notley’s NDP has unfolded its far-left ideology, attacked Albertans, hindered the ability of our industries to invest, compete, and create jobs. Such things should make every Albertan pay attention to politics.
Some people realize that a long-term change affecting our province is underway, but many still don’t see it. Hopefully, they’ll realize what’s occurring and experience a sense of constructive alarm, recognizing that issues must be addressed. Our province was once known as a place of commerce, opportunity, and a location in which to invest. Due to catastrophic debt, runaway taxes, and an ideologically narrow government, numerous major investors have fled.
Some people get angry when they realize what’s occurring to Alberta. Others despair and murmur that nothing can be done, which is foolish. Still others sit quiet, uninvolved, hoping someone else will come along and fix things. Throughout this kind of a process, ‘let’s not talk about it’ can sometimes become the norm for people.
Even so, we can hope that the memories of better days in Alberta will reignite a desire for many to return to ground zero—to basic values of self sufficiency, hard work, and government that stays out of debt, holds the line on taxes, and leaves people alone.
Our province continues to risk much until the next election. That gives Albertans two years to buckle down and to become better informed, speaking among ourselves about the need for good government, good legislative bills, and a better-informed electorate. We need people who know their candidates, and who know how their party of choice will handle matters that facilitate wealth creation—which is what influences Alberta’s quality of life. Each of us with our one vote can be a part of that change.
It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Our lives start to end on the day that we become silent about things that matter.” So, let’s pay attention to politics. The ideas will catch on fast. For others, the fear of speaking out will be lost as people rediscover their ability to initiate constructive change.
Director, Grassroots Alberta Citizens Initiative