Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alberta needs to be healthy and wealthy

I attended a Wildrose meet and greet event in Red Deer where leader of the Wildrose Danielle Smith gave a talk and took questions. I went because I wanted to see and hear what the Wildrose are doing and what the people who would attend a Wildrose event are saying and thinking.

I was there to learn.

Danielle Smith talked about the ridiculous wages that some government administrators make like the head of Alberta Health Services or Redford's chief of staff.

Talking about income inequality is often a great way to get labelled a communist or a socialist, but when Danielle Smith and the Wildrose talk about government employees who make a ridiculous salary, they get head nods and hell-yeahs from Wildrose and NDP alike. 

Albertans who don't make six figures have a problem with public-sector employees who do.

Danielle Smith elicited gasps from the crowd when she said that the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE) reported that many of their frontline members don't make $45,000 in an entire year -- which happens to be the cost of Alison Redford's flights to Nelson Mandela's funeral.

This hit home big time amongst the room of people in Red Deer -- I saw heads nodding everywhere. The tension in the room was escalating. If Smith was trying to elicit an emotional response, she hit everyone, including me, between the eyes.

Smith also talked about making Alberta's Heritage Fund a priority and pointed to Norway's Oil Savings Fund that now sits at over $900 Billion, compared to Alberta's $17 Billion.

That's some of what Danielle Smith and the Wildrose talk about.

Here's some of what Danielle Smith and the Wildrose don't talk about.

Like Smith and the Wildrose, I too am interested in what Alberta can learn from Norway. It turns out that Norway does a better job of saving money in the bank and keeping kids off the street. Smith and the Wildrose make a point to be envious over Norway's bank account, while ignoring their superior skills in keeping children out of poverty. I think Albertans care about both, and so should any political party worthy of governance.

The whole point of being fiscally responsible is born out of the idea that responsible adults don't run up a tab and then throw the bill at our next generation of children. If this matters, and it really does, then so does ensuring that our present generation of children don't live in poverty.

It is disingenuous to talk about government cronyism and then ignore Alberta's growing income gap and children living in poverty. (Did you know that the top Canadian CEOs earn average workers' salary in a day and a half?)

Anyone who wants to talk about fiscal responsibility or education without talking about reducing poverty has an agenda and should be challenged, and anyone who talks about social responsibility and reducing poverty without talking about balancing the books is irresponsible and should be challenged.

If we care about children, then we need to talk about fiscal and social responsibilities. For too long, Alberta political parties have been marinated in ideology that prioritizes one at the expense of the other. The ancient tug o' war between left and right over fiscal and social responsibilities is an old and tired political model that have many people angry, cynical or apathetic.

If you are a fiscally responsible and socially conscious Albertan who is looking for a different way of doing politics, then I invite you to check out Greg Clark and the Alberta Party.

Greg Clark and the Alberta Party believes, "we can have a strong economy. We can have a strong commitment to the environment. A strong balance sheet and a strong social conscience."

The Alberta Party understands that it is easier and cheaper to build strong children than to repair broken people. Their social policies reflect an understanding for the idea that an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.

The Alberta Party is a breath of fresh air that Alberta desperately needs.

Winston Churchill once said:
Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.
While I give Churchill full credit for being pithy, this kind of black and white thinking holds us back. If Alberta is going to be healthy and wealthy, we have to stop choosing between having a brain or a heart.

Alberta needs both.

Alberta needs the Alberta Party.

1 comment:

  1. Before the Alberta Party can win numerous votes, they need to better publicize themselves, their platform, where they stand on issues etc. it's hard to consider voting for them if they can't effectively get their message out.

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