The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

September 6, 2008

Elections are nothing but bullshit erections



As if all of the world and especially Canada wasn't captivated by the American election in November and that whole circus, now our doofus prime minister is going to call his own election for Oct. 14.

Along with basically the entire human race on the planet, I've railed against Bush forever.

He's a dink of the highest degree, and he knows it, the world knows it, and I bet there's never been so many parodies of a political leader in all of recorded history. He deserves much worse, but it will never happen.

The ultra-right religious establishment and the military complex that he exclusively served for the past eight years will never allow him to face the absolute derision he and his administration deserve.

War on Terror? RIGHT! Texas should refuse him re-entry. But that won't occur.

He will just disappear into history as another total idiot Americans elected who completely fucked up the world and made America out to be much worse than it really is, a nation that standouts like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King made great.

Anyway, now we're faced with either Obama or McCain. If the Americans elect yet another frickin' Reflublican in McCain, then they deserve everything they get. And the world will have to pay the price.

But over here in a tiny corner of the planet, despite its geographic enormity, lies another democracy. Of course, we're the mouse to the U.S. elephant on our southern doorstep. We're Canada.

And I apologize for us in advance. Because I have always held that we are, politically, much smarter than Americans. And I don't mean that as an insult to individual Americans.

But we are much less influenced by stupid religion power bases and private interests.

We have usually been liberals at heart and our greatest accomplishments, I would argue, have occurred when we have elected Liberal governments. That's when we have most resisted being the U.S. puppets that we have become.

That's when we have truly been a nation, a people, of substantiveness.

We are that no more.

Our peevish, polished and prima donna prime minister, Stephen Harper, was a whipping boy of a right-wing, Alberta-hatched political group called the Reform party, which dissipated because Canadians wouldn't accept its extreme views.

He went off and led a private right-wing think tank organization and then, somehow, managed to meld into a damaged and defeated Progressive Conservative party of Canada, which has been around since Day 1.

He won the leadership of that historic party, which has always been the counter-movement from the liberal party, similar to the Reflublicans and the Democrats in the U.S.

And then, because the Liberals here had been through their own scandals and because they elected a French-Canadian leader whose main issue is the environment, the Conservatives under Harper won a minority government.

Of course, it has not worked. Harper's government, without the support of the majority of Canadians in Parliament or among the voting public, has been rendered impotent. But they brought that on themselves.

Harper is, at best, plastic. He's like the teflon frying pan we all buy, coated with some exterior chemical that's supposed to protect the product.

But it wears down after a while, of course, and when you heat it up, eventually the true value of the product is put to the test. He and his government are shallow. They're shallow, they're unpopular, people can see through his lack of depth.

A recent poll suggested Canadians don't want our troops to be fighting in Afghanistan. We want our troops around the world to be peacekeepers, to be helping people overcome the tragedies that war and conflict bring.

Not Harper and his cronies. He wants us to be some sort of mini-Americans or something, trying to change the world and repair irreparable situations. We don't want that. He does. He is worse than Bush.

Bush is simply stupid, obviously coloured by the religious right and his unmistakeable interest in helping the oil barons earn more and more and more.

Harper isn't as stupid, but he follows the stupid like an automaton, so that would have to make him MORE stupid. As a Canadian, I'm embarrassed and shamed by our political choices out there right now.

My god, I'm caught in a trap, as Elvis would say.

It will be a wasted vote, but I'm thinking the socially left, the New Democrats. They've never had power in our country. But I'm sick of this liberal-conservative crap. There's got to be another alternative.

Where's the Rhino Party?

37 comments:

  1. I DID vote New Democratic in the last election, but it didn't do any good. I too am sick to death of the Liberal-Conservative shimmying back and forth.

    I like your teflon frying pan analogy - very apropo for a guy who can't even give his kids a hug in public. How stilted and artificial can a dad be! What did he think the public would think of him if we saw him hugging his kids? Cripes, what an idiot. Now, we think even less of him than we did before.

    Ship him off to Texas to hang out with Dubya. He's just a clone anyway... or a wannabe at the least.

    I still hate politics.... and politicians. Slimy bastards, all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. PG:

    Philosophically, I am a left-leaner. I hang to the left, my car brakes left, I've left the building.

    At the very least, it will be my protest vote.

    If we're going to have a dink for prime minister, well at least he should be a REAL bad dink, like Bush.

    But Harper's a pale imitation. And Dion is nothing but a punching bag who's painted green.

    Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Where I live now, the NDP MLA is a guy my oldest sister went to school with. He's been representing this area for 25 years. Well liked, active, yada yada yada. He's also the Speaker of the House.

    But he is not seeking relection, so now I will have to figure out who the next one will be and that sucks.

    Another unknown entity to deal with, in a political wasteland where there is no one of substance and morality and good character to choose from.

    So you're a lefty through and through, I see. Not sure I needed to know all that!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would NEVER vote for the NDP... not on a National, Provincial, or Civic level..EVER
    well OK maybe if a Lefty ran for Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in the Cafetreria at my Community Club.

    Before you go on about my Tough on Crime Achille's TenDONNitis..hey that's a good name for a new blog..anyway..
    our country would never survive a Kommie-Pinko-Unionist led by the tail government, not in the 21st Century..
    nope, nope, nope, that horse 'left' the barn a decade ago and hangin on to outdated Idealistic claptrap will only sink us deeper in debt.

    The Middle path my children, the Middle Path is the only road to Nirvana..here's a little poem to help you remeber your predicament;

    The best of the worst,
    and the worst of the best.
    Is as good as it gets,
    out here in the West.

    ReplyDelete
  5. PG:

    Well, let's just say I lean away from the right, then.

    Donnnnnnnnn:

    You've been SOOOOOO duped by the right-wing hype and, predictably, gobbled up their anti-left message.

    Everything bad that has happened in the last couple of decades can be largely attributed to the right.

    Health-care system gutted? Try Ralph Klein and Ontario's Harris.

    Thousands of jobs eliminated? Try Mulroney and the free-trade deal and their "global economy."

    Services cut? Roads left in tatters? The right-wing mantra of no government debt, swallowed up whole by a gullible public that hasn't added 2 + 2 together to understand that while government debt has gone down, government programs have been slashed while their taxes haven't.

    If I'm going to pay these kinds of taxes, I at least want the services they're supposed to provide.

    The left will be more inclined to at least do THAT. Commie Pinko claptrap? The claptrap is all from the right. And we've swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    Someone's laughin' but it ain't us. It's big business.

    ReplyDelete
  6. WRONG!
    All of our bloated services were out of control..Government is WAY too big...plus we have 3 layers of Government triplicating the same f*cking job.

    The Healthcare is intercoursed because a small portion of the population, that I like to call the asshats, keep abusing it by going to Emerg for hangnails and valuable resources are WASTED cleaning up Junkies every weekend.

    The average citizen only goes if they absolutely NEED to..but these retards suck up way more than their share and ruin it for the rest of us.

    I know that staff are way over extended but if we could find a way to launch the asshats into Outer f*cking Space we'd be much better off.

    We need more Mental Health/Prison Facilities to warehouse these people, since their own families have thrown them out, and train the rest of the population to curtail frivolous medical attention...which would be eased if we educated them from the getgo so that they wouldn't eat themselves into oblivion and live such outrageously harmful lifestyles!

    Must

    stop

    ranting

    step away from the keyboard
    press publish
    GO!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Donnnnn:

    I'm too wired for sound following the football game to really respond to this.

    But so you're saying our services were too bloated and out of control, and you want to expand them to provide across-the-board housing and programs for all mentally-ill and otherwise troubled people in prisons or halfway houses or something?

    And in the meantime, cut back health services for the 85 per cent of people who don't have these issues and who pay all the taxes and get nothing for them?

    Of course we both know these issues are much deeper and more complicated than this discussion.

    But it sounds to me like what you're proposing, more or less, is a U.S. north of the 49th.

    Let's build more prisons and stick all the baddies in them, let's eliminate public health-care, let's cut taxes. Less government, more individual responsibility.

    Well, if the government came to me and cut my taxes to 10-15 per cent of my gross income instead of 50, I'd say OK, cool.

    My expectations of roads, sewer systems, health-care and other necessities would go down, but I could at least use the extra disposable income to partly make amends on my own.

    But they won't do that. And even if they did, what about the 15 per cent or whatever of the population that doesn't have my income and needs government support?

    Should we gas 'em all? Pack 'em on trucks and take 'em all to gulags at Lynn Lake or Norway House?

    Again, we both know it's not this simple. You and I have talked about this kind of stuff for 30 years.

    What I know is the two so-called middle of the road parties aren't getting it done.

    And we're all sinking in political quicksand while they don't do something. Maybe a change is in order. And Harper isn't the guy who's going to change anything.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow... a political duke-out. I side with WW - the middle guys suck. Actually, they all suck. But maybe, just maybe, getting a party in who hasn't been in power before might bring on some positive (or at least necessary) changes.

    I lived in the US for 5 years. I will be damned if I want to see this country go that route. And I worked in healthcare when I was down there. No thanks!

    Interesting to see how you two have been friends for eons and have such differing views on politics. And I had the impression you were so much more alike.... guess one should never assume anything! ((sorry.... sorry.... sorry....))

    ReplyDelete
  9. PG:

    Actually, Donnnnn (or is that Donnnnnn?) are not as dissimilar as we may appear.

    But there's no doubt we are very different in many ways, and that's the great thing about it.

    We tease each other and exchange our different views and we laugh about those differences.

    In the end, though, we usually come to some sort of agreement -- or we just have another drink.

    We both are very united, I'd say, on what needs to eventually happen. It's how to get there?

    He has a brilliant, if twisted, mind and he's full of knowledge and innane facts he trots out.

    But I shoot him down every time. Although, not before he shoots me down 100 times.

    It's fun. He's still a nerd, but it's fun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. WW, I think you both have twisted, brilliant minds.... you just come at things from different angles.

    Having differing opinions and being able to stay best buds is what true friendship is all about.

    I have two girlfriends that are that way - we are very different in some ways - one I have been friends with for 36 years, the other for 10 - but we get along famously and love each other dearly.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't want an American system..if I was rich I would want it...no I want a list of abusers made public and at some point somebody gets to say

    Dear Mrs. Whackjob,
    It has come to our attention that your delusional hypochondria cost the Canadian Taxpayer $837,945.63 last year and our board of Directors have decided to put you up in this nice health-resort-spa so that you don't have to go to the Hospital every week
    (like you did last year).

    You'll love the place AND it won't cost you one, thin, dime! There are lots of friendly people in white coats whose pockets are overflowing with magical pills.
    Have a nice stay
    ((SLAM))

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ponygirl I have spent the better part of 3 decades trying to talk some sense into this man but his aversion to my Stalinistic implementation of sweeping wholesale change is far too extreme for his sensitive touchy-feely personality.

    We actually agree on 95% of stuff he just likes to argue for the sake of arguing...which I find extremely tedious, but it is the price that I have to pay.
    *sigh

    ReplyDelete
  13. PG:

    Well, I tolerate him. Somebody has to be his friend, so it might as well be me.

    Donnnnnnn:

    I am having you committed on the grounds that you're an arse.

    PG/Donnnnnnn:

    Yes, I do like arguing just for the sake of arguing, but only with you.

    I give you the chance to let you actually put into some use all those useless factoids and theories you have in your head, for one.

    And allowing you to get onto your soapbox -- only to be constantly shot down by common sense -- helps you to refine your ideas so when you write your Magna Carta, others will be able to understand it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Pffffffffttttttttttt

    ReplyDelete
  15. MJ:

    Was that a fart or a simple sound of general disdain towards the entire political process?

    I think you should run for prime minister under the Infomaniac party banner.

    I'd vote for you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't like Dion and I don't think he could win (his english frickin' sucks), but I'll end up voting Liberal anyway. I don't think Layton could handle the job of PM and the party just seems way too fluffy for me. As for Harper and the conservatives - I totally agree with everything you said.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Um.... WW, are you saying you like to argue with ME????? Or was that just Donnnnnn you were talking about?

    You two are opposites in some ways and totally alike in others - Mutt and Jeff. Laurel and Hardy? Sylvester and Tweetie?? The Roadrunner and the Coyote???

    Whatever.... politics stinks.... I hate trying to figure out who is the least of all the evils... just to watch them prove me wrong in the long run. And Anna is right about Dion - his English is atrocious (is that how you spell that word?), and he kinda scares me.

    I like MJ's reaction.... pfffftttt is right!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous8:14 PM

    This is the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada calling Mr. WW, can e count on a donation from you to ensure another 4 years of strong leadership from teh man you so admire.

    With love,

    S.H.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anna:

    Well, I might end up voting Liberal too, you never know, that's who I've mostly voted for in the past.

    Harper's just too plastic and phoney.

    Ugh.

    PG:

    I live to argue with Donnnnnnnn. Well, and for a few other things. But that's one of the main driving forces in my existence.

    Anon (MJ):

    You must have been in the sauce tonight, S.H. TWO typos! But you'll still never get my vote or my contribution.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just wanted to let you know that Charlie couldn't catch me.
    ((bump))
    What was that!?
    I can't wait for Chip to get here...c'mon c'mon!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anon is not me!

    Seriously. I have nothing to say but pfffttt.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I guess you didn't live in Ontario during The Rae Massacre.

    I'm disappointed in Harper but he's a ray of sunshine compared to the Cretin and Martini decade.

    I'll be holding my nose and voting for him again.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I doubt more than a handful of people here(including some politicians!) know who Harper is! Canucks tend not to get much coverage down here unless it's to do with butchery.Sad, but true.
    It would be wonderful if you could elect someone who is gutsy enough to tell your neighbours to find a new lap-dog!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Donnnnnn:

    You tore outta here so fast, no matter Charlie couldn't catch you! But I think Chip was lookin' for a piece of your tail...

    MJ:

    OK, I believe you. This is a new Anonymous who, strangely enough, is opting to remain Anonymous.

    Maybe it IS the real Stephen Harper! He was in Winnipeg today!

    Frank:

    No, I didn't...but I also hear the Mike Harris Massacre was actually far worse.

    Ontario rules all the elections while us little western outposts simply pad out the majorities.

    So you'll get your way, no matter what. We'll have to agree to disagree on Stevie, but that's the beauty of democracy.

    Dinah and her more idle thoughts:

    Well, to be honest, I can't recall who Oz's PM is right now, so slap me. It's kinda the same thing.

    But I'm all with you, Harper's Bush's little toy poodle...barks a lot but has no bite.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Donnnnn, you troublemaker!

    It wasn't me!

    I'll sick Gautami on you.

    *hugs WW who has to put up with the likes of Donnnn for ETERNITY*

    ReplyDelete
  26. Who are Charlie and Chip? What kind of games do you two play when you get together on Monday evenings?????

    Canadian politicians don't have guts, so whoever is PM, unless he (or she, at some point) has a lot of spine (like that would ever happen!), will be stuck being the US Prezzy's lap-dog or bunting bag or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  27. MJ:

    Yeah, I NEED that hug! I am stuck with him. What a PLAGUE! Oh, the PESTILENCE!

    You get him. It would have a lot more impact -- a kick, a dig, whatever -- coming from you.

    I'm sure Gautami will sic a thousand Bengal tigers or a few cobras on him anyway...

    PG:

    See my latest post.

    I didn't mention him, but Charlie was the name of one supposed spirit who committed suicide in a bar in the 1930s or 1940s during prohibition for trying to give booze to an undercover guy.

    He lost everything and killed himself in the bar, so it was haunted by him, they tried to exorcise him or whatever and the bar under the present-day owner finally starting thriving, although wine glasses still mysteriously get broken...

    (Strike up scary music)...

    ReplyDelete
  28. A good spanking is what he needs.

    ReplyDelete
  29. MJ:

    Well, I won't look. He's got a big ass. Go for it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous1:34 PM

    No party right-wing enough for me, now that the so-called Conservatives have moved even further left to where the Liberals were & the Liberals have moved over to join the NDP (Layton has nothing to say now that Dion has stolen his platform), so I'm hoping 1 of the fringe parties (like the Marijuana Party) has a candidate in my riding so I have someone to vote for!

    AB did great things w/ Ralph Klein at the helm - paid off Getty's $8.5 billion corporate-donations debt within 12 yrs - sure, things were tough b/c social programs were cut back to pay down the debt (at a time when the price of oil was in the toilet & we were all laid off), but we're reaping the benefits now...

    As for healthcare, Klein never had a chance to implement his ideas (the ones we wanted him to implement) b/c the feds won't allow the provinces to manage their own healthcare, so we continue in the same manner as the rest of the country - shipping patients to the US for treatment when we run out of hospital beds & waiting in ER for 75 hrs for "emergency" surgery...

    Harper is just another fed now - used to stand for something, but now is just interested in taking the net $14 billion in transfer payments from AB to throw around in places where he thinks he can get more votes - notice none of it ends up back in AB? he is as cynical as all his predecessors who see AB as a tiny group of voters who can't influence the election anyway & won't even have finished voting by the time he has won or lost the election, so take their money & ignore them the rest of the time...

    This is why there is such low voter turnout in AB these days - what's the point? No one's listening anyway (municipal, provincial (now that Ralph's no longer the premier), federal...

    The feds just want us to vote for them to get a majority - last election excluded when Harper actually NEEDED AB & BC votes to (barely) get his minority gov't - 1st time THAT'S ever happened - they actually had to sit at the edge of their seats all night watching every vote wander in from AB & BC instead of the usual: going to bed after the polls close in ON & the media declares them elected!

    AB'ns still miss Ralph Klein - never mind the way he said out loud exactly what AB'ns were thinking & the sheer entertainment value he provided (particularly when he was still drinking), but he was down-to-earth & actually consulted AB'ns - if there was a surplus (after a ton of money had been funneled into debt repayment), we would all get questionaires asking where we wanted the money to be applied - there were a few whiners & bleeding hearts (& public unions, of course) who sounded off in the media about Klein "not listening to AB'ns", but Klein actually WAS doing what the majority of AB'ns wanted: debt repayment #1, tax reduction #2, anything left straight into the AB Heritage Savings Trust Fund, w/ education & healthcare funded by the interest from the Trust Fund...then the knives came out & Klein was abruptly replaced by a left-win wimp (in Conservative clothing) who has been spending our money like there's no tomorrow (& if he keeps it up, there won't be) - he apparently is not good at math & his spending promises added up to several billion above budget, totaling the budget surpluses from the last 2 yrs, plus next yr's projected surplus, plus the "expected" windfall from the increased royalties (that probably won't materialize b/c everyone is now drilling in SK & MB to avoid the royalties in AB) - he is speculating against future revenue (operating on credit), the 1st step toward debt...the price of oil is heading down, which means the surpluses could be lower than expected, just like the future royalties he's already spent which aren't even supposed to start until Jan/09 - how will he pay for all his promised spending then? If he tries to raise taxes, skim off the Trust Fund or go into debt again, he will be shot - unfortunately, he will have to choose 1 or more of those options to pay for it all...

    Everyone's fed up (everyone who works & pays taxes, that is)...that's why only 31% of AB'ns voted in the last election - no one to vote for - Stelmach of course said AB'ns had given him a "mandate", but he only won 77% support of the 31% who voted - a resounding victory - NOT!!

    Now that Harper has taken a huge step to the left & is just using AB as a cash cow like all who preceded him, we're facing the same thing nationally as provincially...I expect 1 of 2 outcomes in AB next month: (1)extremely low voter turnout or, if a fringe party becomes available (particularly 1 w/ a separatist theme) (2) a protest vote - either will have the same effect on the national numbers...

    When all else fails & AB'ns are unable to be heard, we are happy to settle for just making a point to be heard...remember the Conservatives, when the Reform Party first appeared on the horizon, BEGGING westerners not to split the vote by voting Reform b/c it would guarantee a Liberal victory? We did it anyway - we were not happy w/ the Conservatives - how quickly they seem to forget...we may not be able to make them win, but we can certainly make them lose!

    AB Girl

    ReplyDelete
  31. AB Girl:

    Wow.

    Fascinating, lengthy and well thought out response, and all very legitimate and long-held Alberta points.

    With all respect, let me try to rebut them or at least, from my minuscule brain in a have-not province, try to provide another view.

    First, if you guys didn't sit on the land you're fortunate enough to be sitting on now, you'd be in our boat.

    You'd be nothing but just another flatlanders' paradise that could grow grain, flax and oilseeds.

    Let's not forget the Rockies as a tourist destination, though, which is another thing we don't have.

    But thanks to Leduc in 1957, Alberta isn't Manitoba. Or the Atlantic. Saskatchewan is now finding some oil and it has its potash.

    What does Manitoba have? Great freshwater lakes. Hydroelectricity. Hog barns. Farm fields. And a major city that is in decay, passed by as a major transportation hub.

    Another thing Alberta has that we don't is a history, especially south of Edmonton, of being a bible belt and a haven for the Far Right.

    It has a great entrepreneurial spirit, but what it most has is oil and gas. Let's face it.

    So, OK. If we agree on that -- that Alberta has been blessed with a natural resource that few other places in Canada has, and certainly not to that extent -- then in my mind, the question becomes: is Alberta obliged to share that wealth with other have-not regions?

    Under the assumption, of course, that Alberta wants to be a part of Canada, a country that is among the largest on the planet and which is wildly diverse in every way.

    All of us outside of Ontario and Quebec share the view that it's all about them, not about us.

    And Alberta and B.C., particularly, feel wronged because they have more than us weak sisters do, they have more stuff that means something in money terms, in terms that are market-driven and in demand. They have more clout, or at least feel that they do.

    And their heritage and their spirit makes them that way. The Socreds go back a long way. Albertans are proud and stubborn and in some ways arrogant.

    They're Canada's version of cowboys, wouldn't you agree? Cowboys and right-wing religious believers, at least in some corners?

    I was in Edmonton for 14 years covering Klein and Getty and oil and gas and the union-busting Pocklington and so many other things I had been unaccustomed to from my upbringing in Manitoba.

    The attitude there is to be admired on one hand but also to be feared, at least on the outer edges.

    I'm talking about the general feeling, not individuals. But it's individuals that, together, form the whole.

    Klein was a drunk who was so totally politically incorrect at times, but Albertans loved him for it.

    And I get the thrill of not being politically correct, because that's all Ottawa is nowadays.

    Harper's big anti-crime mantra and Manning's before him came out of Alberta. And many outside Alberta agree with that sentiment.

    Many of us want the death penalty back. Many of us want work camps for prisoners. Many of us want work for welfare programs.

    A lot of those kinds of ideas were dabbled with by Klein's government and proposed by Manning's Reformers, including Harper.

    Alberta is much more of an "only the fittest survive" place to live. It's very independent.

    But you've got something to fall back on. You've got some power, all because of 1957 and the oil strike.

    What if you didn't have that? What if Calgary's skyline wasn't filled by skyscrapers built by profit-rich oil companies and it was filled instead by old, decrepit buildings from the early 1900s?

    What if it didn't have incredibly oil-rich aboriginal bands from Hobbema and other places that kept those people on their lands instead of having them migrate into your biggest city and become more of a burden on top of the burden you already have?

    What if you lived in a place where rather than beautifully paved highways and freeways built with the interest from a multibillion-dollar heritage fund in a province that is able to build huge surpluses without even having a provincial sales tax, you had main roads in your downtown and commuter roads crumbling and constantly under reconstruction?

    And what if maybe you were Stephen Harper or Joe Blow and you became prime minister, you got to Ottawa and found out that the whole country wasn't living like Albertans were -- not even close?

    I'm not defending Harper or Joe Clark or anyone else. But I am saying that you live in a blessed place.

    So what's the solution? Do we just disband the country and let everyone go their own way, as in that the strongest survive mentality?

    It might happen anyway, who knows...

    We all pay taxes, AB Girl. You pay fewer taxes than I do because your province is rich enough so you don't have a PST.

    It's also probably true that Albertans earn more, on average, than most Canadians.

    And all that's fine.

    But what's the price of being in a country, which means a collective, like a family?

    Should each province have all of its own powers to do whatever it wants? Here, we'd be a country of 1 million people. We'd probably end up joining North and South Dakota, maybe Minnesota too.

    Alberta, I imagine, would join B.C. and maybe Washington and become some sort of Great Northwest, as people have proposed before.

    I'm not apologizing for any of the weenies in Ottawa and saying they're doing it right.

    What I know is that not everyone can be as prosperous as Alberta is. It's a shame, but it's true.

    And it's Ottawa's ugly job to try to equalize things out, at least a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous11:20 PM

    WW, you misunderstand me (& Albertans) - we don't have a problem w/ sharing the wealth - but what the feds are doing w/ our money is not "sharing the wealth", but squandering to buy votes (e.g. giving Ford money to maintain 750 jobs in the riding of the Minister of Finance - or Chretien building a golf course in his own riding)...

    Southern ON has needed help for at least the 3 yrs Harper has been in Ottawa, but NO money has been used to help stimulate the ON economy - and still isn't - for anyone who will NOT be working on that tiny project at Ford, nothing has changed - still no money is being spent helping non-auto industries develop or grow (marketing assistance domestically and/or internationally, tax incentives, development funds), industries that w/ a little help could create way more than 750 jobs & ones that would last into the future b/c they're not dependent on a failing industry to stabilize ON's economy going forward...that donation to Ford was for 1 reason only - to buy votes in Oshawa right before an election...

    AB'ns do NOT consider that proper use of the billions we send the feds - some well-placed dollars in areas that need help (something that would make us proud) is what we expect (& never see)...

    Oil companies in AB have been using shops in ON & the Maritimes to build oilfield equipment, and our company isn't the only one employing people in southern ON to work remote - these are permanent full-time jobs ranging from administrators to VP's - it's the age of technology, they don't have to be in Calgary to work for our company...oil companies have charters flying workers from central Canada, the Maritimes & NFLD out to AB on shifts to work in the oilsands & flying them back for days off so they don't have to move their families & can spend all their hard-earned money right in their home provinces (maintain those provinces' tax base & economies)...

    If AB didn't have to send all that dough to the feds (who have demonstrated thru history they're not good at managing money), AB itself could assist ON & any other area in the country that needs it & do a far better job of it - but we don't HAVE the money, except what private corporations are able to spend in ON & points east to keep a few people working...we do what we can w/ the money we have left after the feds take the bulk of it & waste it - it's really disgusting...avg. $13 billion NET AB sends to the feds EVERY YR - where is the money going???? That's in addition to all the taxes they collect from multiple sources - the money is clearly being squandered...

    ON helped AB during the last drought by sending hay to the farmers out here (ON took the initiative b/c the feds didn't care, as usual) & AB is returning the favor now that ON needs help...THAT'S the way it should be in a country that wants to work toward the collective good...not taking as much money as possible & throwing it around willy-nilly just b/c it's there...

    As for AB: If it wasn't oil & gas, it would be something else - AB'ns are entrepreneurial people who are always looking for the quickest way to make a buck - it's how the province was established to begin w/ BEFORE oil & gas was discovered - it's the people who settled in AB who have made this province (I'm not saying oil & gas wasn't a nice surprise)...

    AB settlers were half Americans who came up looking for gold & land for ranching & farming, and half people from central Canada who were promised free land & lots of great things if they would just come out here & prevent AB from being taken over by the USA - as expected, the people who came out here were immediately abandoned by central Canada (the feds) & left on their own in a harsh climate & land that was in many areas impossible to farm - so they joined forces w/ the equally suffering Americans in order to survive - the result is a bunch of people who thumb their nose at the world b/c they've proven throughout the history of the province that they CAN survive anything, with or without help (even the cops sent out here to control the wild, free-drinking, gun-slinging settlers became loyal to the people b/c they suffered along w/ them)...I think AB's reputation of being the biggest boozers in the country may have started back then...I wonder how different this province would have been if the feds had taken ANY interest in the people they dispatched to nowhereville & those people had remained loyal to central Canada...

    You have to admire a group of people who, when all the other provinces were happily (& blindly) signing their Confederation papers, read it carefully & said "wait a minute - it's almost like everything belongs to the feds or something - and WE'VE been doing all the work!" - AB (then represented by the United Farmers of AB) refused to join Confederation unless the feds agreed that AB would have complete jurisdiction over all its natural resources (water, land & minerals - in case there really WAS gold) - who knew there was all that oil?? Lucky break! And, of course, the feds, desperate to keep AB away from the USA, gladly signed away their jurisdiction - oops!

    The only reason AB threatened to separate when Trudeau instituted the NEP (to TAKE our resource money instead of ASKING for it) was b/c it literally defied the Confederation agreement between AB & Canada - AB simply said "we only agreed to join if we had jurisdiction over our natural resources, so if you decide to rewrite history & withdraw that jurisdiction (retroactively), our Confederation agreement is null & void - goodbye"...it had nothing to do w/ sharing wealth (obviously, b/c AB continues to send billions to Ottawa every yr) - it was about the principle of the agreement & what AB could legally do...

    AB has more money than Canada, and I'm not talking about the bucks buried in the ground...we are debt-free & we have a huge nest-egg (about 5% of the size of the national debt), thanks to our determination to achieve financial independence, even if it meant suffering for 12 yrs...Canada, on the other hand, is about $600 billion in debt (I don't know how the feds can claim they have a surplus when there's all that debt!! it's just a budgetary surplus, meaning they didn't blow as much money as they hoped to) - if all the feds did was apply the $13-14 billion from AB against the debt every yr, it would help w/ the debt repayment...but they don't CARE that Canada is in debt which costs us billions in interest & forces us to continue paying the same high taxes - "managing" all that money is how they keep themselves employed - therefore, it will never change...

    I admire NFLD - they are saying by mid-2009, they will no longer need equalization payments - they are pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps (proper use of the equalization payments they have received, plus a little economic stimulation from all those people earning big bucks in AB & spending it at home) - a little whiny about now having to share THEIR wealth, but that's understandable - they are on the brink of finally having money & they don't want to part w/ it - and NO ONE wants to give money to the greedy, insatiable feds! SK & NS are doing the same & showing great entrepreneurial spirit - you should see the way they are shamelessly stealing workers & investment from AB w/ their "please come home - you don't have to be in AB anymore to have a job" & "we won't raise royalties" campaigns - AB sends work to their shops & they steal their workers back to do it...hey, anything we can do to help the other provinces...

    AB Girl

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  33. AB Girl:

    OK, I'm kinda wavin' the white flag, No. 1 because I can't necessarily refute everything you say is fact and No. 2, I'm growing weary...

    West of Toronto, essentially, we're ALL settlers and entrepreneurs, I figure.

    We've all been left largely to our own devices, much as you make Albertans only out to be.

    I still DO think that by far, the main reason Alberta is as prosperous as it is today is the oil and gas.

    That was more than just a happy surprise. To my knowledge, Alberta wasn't anything special until that happened.

    And now, it's nothing but a huge windfall. Yes Alberta has a boom and bust economy but the booms far outlast the busts and the value of oil and gas is only going to go through the roof.

    When a new technology comes along (or the pressure from environmentalists or scientists becomes too overwhelming), or when all the oil and gas dries up, there won't be that reality any more.

    But right now, that IS the reality.

    No one's saying the feds haven't done what any vote-seeking government would do: spend the most money where the most people are and, therefore, where the most votes are.

    Albertans have a lot to be proud about and happy for and, yes, frustrated about.

    But there IS inequality. We are not all living the same lifestyle or paying the same taxes.

    From Ott's point of view, and I'm not saying I agree with it, they figure they're Robin Hood.

    Steal from the rich and give to the poor. It's an ugly, unfair reality, maybe, but it is the reality.

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  34. Anonymous11:00 PM

    WW, you seem to think everyone in AB is a millionaire...most of us are living exactly the same lives as Cdns anywhere else - sure, there is probably more of a concentration of millionaires per capita in AB b/c of oil & gas, but that isn't reality for the majority of us - we live paycheck to paycheck like everyone else, have mortgages, car payments & probably too much debt...what people from other parts of the country who come out here during a boom expect to see doesn't exist - there aren't jobs coming out the ying-yang - only in the trades - unfortunately, if roofers are making $30/hr, welders $50/hr & truck drivers $100/hr, it's probably in Fort McMurray where rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $2K+/mo, so they're no farther ahead than if they were roofing in SK for $20/hr! For all white collar jobs (except oil & gas engineers), AB workers still don't make as much as their counterparts in BC or ON - but they have a higher cost of living in those provinces, so in the end, we're probably all making the same...yes, we have the benefit of no sales tax, but we also have user fees that other provinces don't have which DO have sales taxes...

    No one seems to see anything in AB except oil & gas - they see the price of gasoline and assume everyone is making a mint - WE don't make that money, the oil companies do...and I can tell you, they don't share it w/ their employees like they did 25 yrs ago!

    As for only AB being "lucky" - well, the oilsands extend into SK & oil companies are now racing up there to throw down their stakes before anyone else does b/c SK has promised incentives to companies who develop their oilsands (i.e. they will not hit the oil companies w/ huge royalties like AB is going to starting Jan. 1)...

    MB is #2 in economic growth in Canada now (behind SK which is #1) - likely due to the discovery of the extent of the Bakken oil formation that everyone has been talking about recently which extends from SE SK to SW MB & down into ND - the MB premier was out here talking to the oil execs about incentives even before SK got here...so I think you'll see MB's fortunes changing...

    I didn't say ONLY AB'ns are entrepreneurial - I was talking about AB'ns...but there definitely seems to be a difference in the business environment in AB vs MB - is the MB gov't business-friendly? That's what it takes to stimulate an economy...

    A guy here in my town left his oilpatch job to start a business building portable power plants (shack w/ a collapsible windmill & roof made of solar panels) which he thought oil & gas would be anxious to have for remote operations - looking at his website recently (a yr after the local media did a story on it), I see that while the industrial model is still available, most of his website is now dedicated to shacks which can accommodate various sizes of hot water heaters & a new service converting homes to solar heating...his market turned out to be farmers wanting to go off-grid & people building new homes to be energy efficient, not oil companies - whatever sells...(in addition, his fledgling plant is operating entirely off-grid due to windmills & solar panels, so his fixed costs are low)

    Our power division has become the largest in the company, particularly wind power projects in BC & AB, as the natural gas side continues to naturally decline - the gas side is still operating & will until the gas is all gone, but we obviously had to go in a different direction to replace the declining revenue - we're not the only company going in that direction - every oil company is now building wind farms - it's the latest craze...

    The oil companies aren't stupid - they knew the reserves had a limit, saw the downward trend about 20 yrs ago & started looking for some other way to make money...about the time wind power has taken over as the largest revenue generator in the province, the latest new alternative fuel projects (coal turned into diesel & gasoline) should be just gearing up, about 10-15 yrs from now...the oil companies will not cease to exist - they will just be selling something other than conventional fuel & will no longer be known as "oil companies"...

    What WILL be interesting when that happens is how Canada will get revenue from AB...SK & MB will still be going strong in oil b/c the new-found oil reserves are just starting to be produced & BC will still be going like gangbusters on their natural gas, but AB resources which are in significant decline b/c most of the reserves have already been produced, will no longer be producing - most of the oil wells are being shut in b/c they've run the life of the reserves (40-50 yrs), and natural gas is also in decline...how do you assess royalties on wind?

    AB Girl

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  35. AB Girl...

    Remember, I was born there and, later, lived there and worked there as a journalist for 14 years. So I know not all Albertans are millionaires.

    When I talk about Alberta being rich, it's in the context of this post and our discussion about politics and sharing the wealth.

    And Alberta IS the richest, most financially secure province/economy in the country. And we can agree to disagree, if necessary, but I think the main reason for that HAS to be the oil and gas.

    I know Sask is No. 1 and Mb is No. 2 at the moment. I can't say I know what the stats have been over the years, but I highly suspect Ab has been at or near the top almost every year and that, even if those rankings took into account the bust periods, Ab would STILL be at the top.

    I also hold the belief that while of course Albertans live paycheque to paycheque like we all do, they have a higher standard of living, on average.

    Granted, they do have higher costs, in some ways (house prices, for example), driven by the move of so many people there and that red-hot economy.

    But Alberta hasn't just grown like that for no reason. People want to be there. They wouldn't want to be if there was a perception it wasn't "the place to be."

    I wouldn't doubt if my kids move there either when they get jobs. Tons of Manitobans move there too, not just Sask and Nfld.

    I don't know how big the Manitoba oilfinds might become, I know it's getting bigger there, but our two economies are so different.

    And again, without trying to sound like a broken record, I sincerely believe that's because we didn't have a 1957 oil boom in Leduc.

    Manitoba (Winnipeg's) importance as a transportation hub has waned. The feds (Mulroney) yanked the CF-18 contract from us here, costing thousands of jobs that went to Montreal instead.

    This province's bread and butter, historically, was bread and butter -- grain and oilseeds and livestock. But all the family farms are disappearing because of world markets and transportation costs and you name it, taken over by corporate farm interests.

    Winnipeg has become the town that the world passed by. It has a small manufacturing industry, a bit of this, a bit of that.

    There IS no boom or bust here, just a slow, steady turtle in the race, not the hare.

    So the government here -- and the government in Ottawa -- has to balance these differences and a whole bunch of other factors and yeah, they do a shitty job of it, by and large.

    As it is, the govt here, even though it's NDP, cuts corporations some slack in taxes and gives them incentives to come here.

    But not many do. We don't have oil and gas, nobody will buy the hydroelectricity we have to sell, we're out in the middle of nowhere and not close to the industrial heartland of Ontario/Quebec...

    But we still want and need the same services and programs that every other Canadian has.

    I get how your oil and gas is going to dry up and what's going to happen to Alberta when that occurs.

    And I don't have an answer for that.

    But I'd like to think that Ottawa and we in Manitoba would see the obvious impact of that -- and help out whichever way we could.

    :-)

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  36. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Well, MB would try to help out, but the feds sure as hell wouldn't - don't forget, we've already HAD a bust - a 10 yr long bust during which AB still had to send money to the feds (same thing ON is complaining about now - why do they have to send equalization funds to Ottawa when THEY are currently a have-not province) - it's just that during those 10 yrs no one heard a word about AB - that's the way it goes...did the feds notice a few yrs ago when we had the drought & cattle were starving? NO...ON noticed, was having a bumper crop that yr, and started shipping hay cross-country...the feds are useless, and that's AB's point - all the provinces keep their money & use it themselves to help other provinces & cut out the middleman (the feds) - the feds will never permit it b/c then they would be out of a job (& wouldn't have election campaign funds)...they must be shot...

    As for MB, I think the problem has been lack of attention - does everyone KNOW what MB has to offer? That should be changing now w/ the MB gov't putting it out there & inviting businesses in - in the last few months, I've been seeing something I haven't seen before in the weekly land sale reports in the Daily Oil Bulletin - other than SK & BC constantly eclipsing AB's land sales w/ record sales, there is suddenly a 4th player - MB - "record land sale in MB" - part of this is b/c there probably haven't been many sales over the last few yrs, but still - clearly the oil companies are taking MB up on its offers - once the land has been purchased, the development will follow - more industry in the province will require more services - it takes some time for the snowball to start rolling...(note: it was also an NDP gov't in SK that started the ball rolling 4 yrs ago by offering grants to anyone who would bring a new industry into SK - social programs are great, but only if you have money to pay for them, and w/ a dwindling population of mostly seniors & children, something had to be done - it's not the stripe of gov't that will make the difference, but what they actually do in the end...

    AB Girl

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