As 2016 dawns and Albertans reflect on the path trodden by the new NDP government, one odd inconsistency comes to mind.
Every major new bill pushed through in 2015 had a common denominator: economic impact -- and I’m not talking about a positive one.
First came the attack budget in October, with a mind-boggling $6.1 billion deficit.
Corporate tax increased from 10% to 12%. Alberta’s flat income tax rate was deemed not nearly progressive enough for progressives like the NDP, so that increased.
As one can imagine, business confidence was not exactly strong after this budget. Capital flight increased from a trickle to a decent sized river. With every pulled or stalled project, layoffs came in their wake, and money evaporated from the Albertan economy.
But as we’ve seen, the NDP was only getting started.
Quick on the heels of the attack budget, the carbon tax was thrown onto the plates of Albertans, and this is where things really got ugly.
Another $3 billion a year was to be siphoned out of the economy and tossed into government coffers. The oilsands size had a maximum thrown on it, coal plants were deemed too dirty to suit the "sunshine and lollipop" economy Notley desired, and a host of new taxes were introduced.
Notwithstanding the oil collaborators that had the naiveté to trust militant NGO’s to stop protesting pipeline expansion, the capital flight from Alberta increased from a river to a flood. When it comes to the private sector, and especially the oil and gas industry, “trust” and “socialist” are pretty much like oil and water.
But the NDP had only baked the cake; they needed the icing to top off their 2015 gift of economic ruin to the Albertan populace. The conservative bastion of the agricultural industry was the logical next target. The notorious Bill 6 followed, and its implementation is sure to bankrupt some farmers and ranchers who cannot afford the miles of red tape and unnecessary regulation being shoved down their throats, further depressing the economy.
The direct, tangible effect of 8 months of brilliant legislation is already causing shockwaves throughout the province:
* EI claims up 99% from the same time last year
* A 23% increases in food bank usage in Alberta, hitting record levels. (Canada’s overall food bank usage increased 1.3% by comparison)
* A 30% increase in suicides (and this only covered data to June)
* In Calgary, the first 10 months of 2015 show commercial break-ins almost double from a year earlier, bank robberies increased 65 per cent and home invasions increased 52 per cent (Calgary Police Service data).
* Alberta’s unemployment rate is now at the national average of 7%, the first time this has happened since the days of the National Energy Program.
The human cost of Notley’s policies are staggering.
But all of this sobering data may puzzle you.
Weren’t the NDP supposed to be the government with big hearts for the average or vulnerable Albertans? Where’s the social prosperity promised in their campaign platform? Why the fixation on treating Alberta’s economy like Floyd Mayweather’s punching bag?
This is where we see a fundamental flaw in Notley’s ideology:
The surest path to social poverty is a weak economy.
When a government harms the economy as the NDP has, private sector layoffs skyrocket and thousands of lives are thrown into disarray. These newly unemployed, thereby robbed of their paychecks and means to support themselves and their families, turn to any other means they can come up with to support themselves: government assistance to pay the bills, food banks to feed their kids, and substance abuse or even suicide to end their pain.
This truly shocking human cost of the NDP has been shrugged off by Notley, who sees the thousands of lives turned upside down as collateral damage on her quest to vindicate the Socialist ideology of a carbon free utopia. Thousands of Albertans livelihoods have been offered up on the sacrificial altar of “climate change”.
But Notley doesn’t see things like this. She is more concerned with bragging to her compatriots in Paris about her “contribution” to stopping climate change, while thousands of Albertans have had their lives turned upside down.
The NDP isn’t the party to support if you care about helping those in need, they are the ones you can count on to empower the government and harm those most susceptible in society.
In the end, Notley doesn’t care about benefiting the citizens she represents. Her aim is to radically alter Alberta to fit her progressive worldview. To her, destroying the oil and gas industry is more important than working for Albertans.
I truly believe 2016 is going to be a nasty one for Alberta.
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