06 March 2015

Prentice is right—Albertans are to blame

If Albertans want to know why their government is having budget problems, Premier Jim Prentice advises them to "look in the mirror." His comment went, as they say, viral. Opposition leaders have demanded he apologize for his insult to the people of this province. “I was really quite surprised that he would come out with something that was so insulting and so disconnected from the reality in Alberta,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley.

The truth can hurt. And Ms. Notley's outrage notwithstanding, the premier was simply stating the bald truth. "In terms of who is responsible," he declared, "We need only look in the mirror." This is true and it has taken place under 44 years of Conservative rule, and who has elected the Conservatives to power for all these years? Why, the people of Alberta, of course. That's where the buck stops.

The good citizens of this province have consistently supported, often overwhelmingly, a party that introduced a flat tax, has consistently rejected a sales tax, has been outrageously generous to the oil industry (one of its major funders), has persisted in including oil and gas revenues in its budgeting, and has failed to put aside an appropriate portion for the future. All of this, the very policies that brought us to the current state of affairs and keep us trapped in a boom and bust economy, we must assume Albertans approved. They have gotten the government they want ... and deserve.

One wonders if Premier Prentice recognizes the irony of his remark. When Albertans look in the mirror they see the Conservative Party—his party. In any case, we shouldn't shoot this messenger, we should vote him out.

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