Thursday, March 5, 2015

My supported crocodile slept

The thing that happened last night while I was at yoga was the beginning of the reaction to Jim Prentice, the Premier of Alberta, saying, "In terms of who is responsible, we all need only look in the mirror, right. Basically all of us have had the best of everything and have not had to pay for what it costs." It blew up even more today.

Holy crap. Can you believe it? For those that don't live here, Prentice is leading a government that has been in power longer than any other government in Canadian history. There are dictatorships that haven't lasted this long. It's been 44 years that Albertan's have voting for this government.

In the beginning I admit it was easy to vote for Peter Lougheed. One could argue he ran the best provincial government ever in Canada. It's been downhill ever since. You might want to read this rant as a warm up for what's below. I'll try not to repeat myself. Let's just say I haven't forgotten the hashtag #mistakesweremade

So Prentice did get elected, to nobody's great surprise. There were some common sense decisions made near the start, but I don't give him any credit for that. The situations that lead to him making a common sense decision were stupid, and the government did it.

Prentice doesn't think LBGTQ kids should be allowed to form a gay straight alliance at their schools, unless they go through hoops an adult would find daunting. He deliberately created bill 10 to gut an opposition member's bill that would support such alliances. I can't tell if this was a slip on his part, or done with malice aforethought.

It's a measure of how stupid and ill-considered the bill was that Bishop Fred Henry reared up on his hind legs to support it. You've got to know if he's on your side, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. It's a no brainer is to allow the kids to form these alliances if they want them, and schools should be required to support them. They work. End of story.

Now we get to last night. Prentice claims there is a $7 Billion hole in the budget. The problem is that the Alberta budgets have been deliberately made so obscure even financial experts have difficulty doing the math. I certainly do not take Prentice at his word. It could be any number at all.

It's just that this number is big enough to be scary, and gives him a stick to whack the favourite targets of the Alberta government. Namely, their own employees. Prentice and his cronies think they are overpaid. These people are your neighbours. They are teachers and nurses. They are doctors and emergency responders and many other professions. They do work that is absolutely critical to a modern society working. Ask yourself, are these people that you know getting overpaid? Is the teacher that taught you and is now retired, living on a gold plated pension?

What won't he do? Well, it's hard to determine because he's a slippery bugger, floating trial balloons, then reeling them in. As far as I know, this is at least part of the list. He won't:

  • Raise corporate taxes. (They've bought and paid for the PC government.)
  • Raise the regressive flat Alberta income tax. (Him and his buddies might have to pay more tax.)
  • Won't raise royalties on our oil and gas. (Oil and gas companies own the PC government.)
  • Won't bring in a sales tax or a Harmonized GST. (Albertans are allergic.)
  • There may be other sources of revenue he is foregoing, for much the same reasons.
What will he do? It's hard to say, but here's a partial list:
  • Try to bully the various unions into wage rollbacks, now or at contract renewal time. He has already made a trivial and easily reversible "cut" to the pay of MLA's. (They'll just go to the other end of the trough.)
  • Cut the Calgary Cancer Centre. (Does anyone think cancer cares about the price of oil? Does anyone think it's going to get cheaper to build by putting it off?)
  • He might cut the SW Calgary Ring road. (We have been trying to get it built for 60 years, and have only a short window, or the land reverts.)
  • Have another go at raiding the Local Authorities Pension Plan like the last government did.
  • It's safe to say he'll try to pick the pockets of ordinary Albertans any way he can. (Because we have to share the burdens of the mess his government created, while they and their buddies walk away with the loot.)
Yes, I'm angry about this. I haven't voted PC since Ralph Klein's first election and that was in the early 90's. It's been tough sometimes, I admit. But when I look at the outright incompetence and arrogance of successive PC government's I will vote anybody but them. Anybody at all. They cannot possibly do more damage than the PC's and might do less.

Something that causes me to blow my fuses when I talk about this, is people saying, "Oh, but we can't charge the oil companies more or they'll go away." Bullshit. I mean BULLSHIT!

Did you get that?

It's a big steaming load of BULLSHIT!

There are other places in the world to extract oil and gas, true. But many of them are in oppressive regimes. Many charge even more than we do. There are players in all the other fields already. Some of the newer fields are technically extremely difficult to work in.

I say it now, loud and proud. The governments of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan should get together, unify their royalty rates, and hike them. Raise them. Increase them. Whatever you want to call it. Yes, right now the price of oil sucks. So build in an escalation clause, because the price is going to go up again. I've worked for a bunch of oil and gas companies, and let's just say that while there aren't big carts of money trundled down the halls, there is all kinds of money being made. Some of it filters out to the ordinary workers, enough to keep them working. 

More of it ought to filter out to society. It's shameful we have a homeless problem. It's shameful that our emergency wards are so clogged they can't treat critical patients in a timely manner. It's shameful that there aren't enough teachers for our kids and schools are falling apart. It's shameful that university and college students are being buried in debt to get an education. I could go on.

The PC government here has demonstrated again and again that it is incompetent to deal with the price swings of oil and gas. We should dump them and let someone else have a try.

Look in a mirror. Did you spend the money flying your family around on government airplanes? Did you try to renovate a government building to include a private suite? Did you sign stupid contracts for AHS executives? Did you produce ridiculous budgets that completely miss the price of oil? Did you give yourself huge raises? Were you on a committee that did not meet and yet was paid? I could go on and on.

Why do we keep voting for these idiots? The only reason I look forward to an early, unnecessary election is for the joy of voting for someone else. Does it bother nobody else that calling an early election without repealing the existing law, passed by this very government, is a criminal act?

There. I feel much better.

So, the crocodile. Last night in yoga, as the internet was blowing up with #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans we were doing supported crocodile. You tuck a foam block under each shoulder and relax. After swimming 2K in 37:55 in the morning, my shoulders loved this pose. I went to sleep before our teacher moved to the next pose. When I woke up it was very quiet. Everybody was in their corpse pose for the end of class. My shoulders felt great.


  1. Paula Simons said it succinctly on twitter today: "Actually, Prentice is quite right to blame Albertans. Who else is responsible for electing PC gov't, over and over? #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans"

    1. That is correct. Sometimes I wonder if there is something in the water. Time for a change.


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