The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

July 2, 2009

Alberta’s surprise recession


PM Stephen Harper’s province…

Booze, gambling revenues now worth more than gas royalties to Stelmach government

New council will advise Mr Scrooge and the  Alberta government.   When they were rich, proud and arrogant the Conservative leaders of Alberta were too proud to heed to others, to take advice… but now that they are facing serious ,drastic economic downturn they merely pretend they are ready to  listen.. and how long will that next last? Instead of saving , planning effectively for a rain days the politicians of Alberta were living high on the hog, spending the citizens money, and not really caring about the citizens own good welfare.
“From a rosy peak, Alberta’s fiscal position today has overnight started to  plummet  to its worst state since 1986, when a crash in energy prices led to an eventual provincial debt of $23 billion” and many say it will be worse next too.. Everything comes to an end.. with a price to pay in real life too… even for the liars.. The Alberta government for decades had  clearly lied, mislead many people as to it is  true prosperity.. It put up this false one sided image of “Soaring resource revenues allowed the province to flaunt comparatively low tax rates, high employment, a claimed debt-free status – their freewheeling former premier Ralph Klein even saw fit to send everyone a $400 “prosperity” cheque. Just a short year ago, it seemed the good times would never end.” but there was a real dark side as well not advertised, for Alberta has always been cash strapped, was short of real money in the bank,  and could not afford the new immigrants to Alberta that it wanted to help develop the provincial prosperity.. never the less they falsely advertised for more new comers, gambling they will bring major new investment money to the province as well,, but this  massive influx of new citizens for the  last  decades combined to put Alberta only  deeper into a massive infrastructure deficit (a point often cited in many rightfully  questioning Alberta’s debt-free status claim). In a   effort to build the roads, sewers, school and hospitals its new citizens demand, Alberta has been spending three times the national average on infrastructure. The gamble did not pay off..  “The main  problem remains that Alberta had failed to diversify, and thus  it has always been still  unhealthy reliance on volatile resource revenues. At its peak in 2005-06, Alberta reaped $14.8 billion from energy revenue – one-third of the province’s entire budget.” –  Alberta has been particularly hard-hit by recession-fed job losses, with young people and unemployed men claiming federal Employment Insurance benefits in near record numbers, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

EI benefits soar to record level in May Ottawa Citizen


Canada economy may be on the mend very shortly according to the too often lying spin doctors, but in reality, in fact it will not be so in the province of  Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick,  Nova Scotia  or in Ontario?  for even many reasons.. firstly the price of oil and gas  is not rising significantly nor is it predicted to raise much in the near future, but the price of the gas pumps will always rise though due to greedy firms.. Next the problem of the border crossing and US protectionism policies seriously has negatively affected Canada’s trade and this is not about to go away, plus Canada’s rising dollar value will not help matters.
“One year ago the price of oil was $143 a barrel, natural gas was $13.53, the provincial surplus was forecast at $1.6 billion–and Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans promised “to make use of the revenues while they are available to us.” Today, oil has dropped to $70, natural gas has plummeted to $3.84, that surplus has become a deficit of $852 million–and Iris Evans is on vacation in Europe.”
The Alberta government didn’t have a plan unless you consider shovelling money out the back door as fast as it came in the front to be a plan. “Making use of the revenues” meant spending the revenues. When times were good it outspent every other province in the country on a per-capita basis. It may have been a Conservative government in name, but its spending was liberal, in every sense of the word. Many Albertans told them to save more, even the Liberals. Various groups, including one of the government’s own creations called the Financial Management Commission, were telling the government as far back as 2002 it had to save more money during the good times. Granted, Ralph Klein was in charge back then and he responded by ratcheting up spending and giving away $1.4 billion in Ralphbucks. To emphasize its pessimistic message, the government is no longer rejecting out of hand the notion of a provincial sales tax.
Now in the mid 80’s  I sat under the notice of the RCMP  in the Alberta ministers of economic developments, and Human resources  offices and I had asked both of them as to what they were going to do about  the coming big unemployment in Alberta, and you know what these same perverse Ministers told me they were doing, they were waiting for the federal government to do something.. both useless ministers next lost  their reelections too.  
Alberta the two  horse town,  Oil and beef,  needed to diversify but now is too late.. it’s electrical costs are much too high, and it’s cost of living as well, high cost labour now  too… many hidden costly taxes,  and  add to that the many technical incompetents  existing in this province and you got nothing but mostly a bunch of whiners and losers.. But now they can all put  their seat belts on it is going to be a rough recession ride, about 15- 20 times worse than what Alberta had experienced in the 80’s too and alot of Albertan homes went into foreclosures.
“It might be hard for many Canadians, particularly in hard-hit Ontario, to feel much sympathy for this western province. After all, there was a distinct cockiness in the way “The New West” asserted its newfound position of fiscal superiority this decade over Central Canada in particular.”  They had often rubbed it all proudly in our face, Alberta’s wealth, it’s importance, no taxes, a great future, and what ever before that.. Because too many Albertans were openly  bashing the poor people for decades as well,  now they too do have to  walk in a poor man’s shoes themselves..
Alberta’s surprise recession is not much of a surprise to the wise… for false pride still comes before a great fall.. lay off the too many abusive cops, bad city hall employees as well  in Alberta and save the money now too. You have to be rather kind, nice to everyone, even the Albertans now too, cause you do not know to whom you will go begging for help next as well.
Alberta now faces two possible outcomes: The foolish one where it falsely gambles on good luck – a quick turnaround in oil and gas prices as the world economy recovers which is very very unlikely… any recession turnaround will still take decades to occur.. so the second alternative besides  their aggressive budget slashing not unlike the wholesale cuts  is social welfare, asking the federal government for money.. which they have started to do.. and many Albertan now before all this had  called people on welfare as being bums or Communists, and how do they now see themselves now?
In spite of a growing, deepening Albertan  recession the most recent  growth makes Calgary , 1/3 the size of Montreal, is the third-largest municipality in Canada ?  Now according to the latest statistics   Toronto (2,631,725 people in 2007) and Montreal (1,620,693 in 2006) had more people. Ottawa (898,150 in 2008) and Edmonton (782,439 in 2009) rounded out the top five.  However, if one uses census estimates from 2008 for metropolitan areas — which rightfully do include the immediate  surrounding suburbs — then the Calgary Region falls to fifth, behind Toronto (5,531,263), Montreal (3,750,540), Vancouver (2,271,224) and Ottawa (1,198,668).  Calgary (1,182,446) is unique  for having the vast majority of its population live in the actual municipality, and not in surrounding suburbs. It has no suburbs because it is a mostly new city basically. That is why it is also costly as the roads, sewers, are mostly new too. Calgary only has 60,000 more residents than Edmonton (1,124,163) and it makes a lot of false noise in that fact too cause it wants to attract much needed capital investors for non existing industrial, commercial aspects.. There basically are only 2 large cities in Alberta, Calgary and Alberta, and a handful of smaller towns.. Alberta has some of the biggest liars, spin doctors in Canada for the main cities are desperately seeking more  revenues, and capital investors and anyway they can get them now too even by lies, distortions. There is not much industrial, Manufacturing business in Alberta due to the shortage of labor and skilled persons, and high operating costs. People in Calgary and Alberta do often dream of becoming rich ,  but it is a far away dream when you consider the high costs of living there and the uncertainty of holding onto a job too.

 Revenue generating speeding, traffic, parking tickets are the main focus of the Alberta government and police in spite the fact most accidents, deaths  are caused by impaired drivers still too.

BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Alberta needs tougher drunk-driving laws to cut down on fatal accidents on the province’s highways, says an official with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  “Alberta has refused to move on very strategic legislative initiatives that most of the other provinces have moved on,” Andrew Murie, chief executive of the agency, said Friday.  He recently met with the province’s solicitor general, but said there seems to be little appetite in Alberta to adopt stricter measures.  Impaired driving is being investigated by police as a possible factor in two collisions this week that killed several family members.  In the latest crash late Thursday night, a man, his common-law wife and her two daughters died when their car collided head-on with a pickup truck on a rural highway in northeastern Alberta.  Ivan Charles Paul, 51; Frances (Stella) Yvonne Gadwa, 35; Alexis Josephine Gadwa, 15; and Sarah Margaret Gadwa, 14, were all from the Kehewin Cree Nation near Bonnyville.  The pickup’s driver, a 42-year-old man from Bonnyville, was taken to hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.  Another collision in southern Alberta earlier this week killed five people, including a man and his three young children. The truck they were in collided with a backhoe and both vehicles rolled into the ditch. The truck was filled with beer cans.  Murie said Alberta needs to combine public awareness campaigns with stricter laws to crack down on drinking and driving.  Some provinces such as Ontario and Prince Edward Island give lengthy roadside suspensions for drivers who blow more than .05, even though under the Criminal Code the legal limit is .08, Murie said.  “What happens is, you lose your licence, and, it depends on which province, (it’s) a minimum of three days up to seven days, right on the spot. There’s no criminal proceedings with it.”  “They have made incredible inroads … it makes the public much more accountable before they get behind the wheel of the car when they’ve been drinking.”  Drivers who’ve received their first impaired driving conviction in Alberta should be required to have special equipment in their vehicle, which doesn’t allow the ignition to work if they don’t pass a breathalyzer attached to the car, Murie said.  Those regulations in British Columbia have saved lives, Murie said.  “Right now in Alberta, it’s not mandatory until you’ve been charged twice. Why do you get a free ride when you have technology that stops people from drinking and driving?”  No one from the Alberta government could immediately be reached for comment.  According to figures from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, of the more than 3,000 people killed in collisions across Canada in 2006, at least 1,278 involved impaired driving.  According to statistics compiled by RCMP in Alberta, there have been 28 fatal collisions so far this month – with 13 deaths in just the past few days alone.  Fifteen of those collisions may have involved drugs or alcohol.  The number of impaired driving-related collisions has stayed steady for the last few years in Alberta, something that is of concern for Insp. James Stiles, the officer in charge of traffic services for the RCMP. “Over 400 people are killed on Alberta’s highways every year for a variety of causes. But a significant contributing factor to that is people who continue to drink and drive and put everyone at risk on the highways, including themselves,” he said.  Police and community agencies have hammered home the anti-drinking and driving message so Stiles isn’t sure why the number of impaired driving-related collisions isn’t dropping.  Alcohol is a contributing factor in 26 per cent of fatal collisions in Alberta, Stiles noted.  “They’re not just numbers, those are families that are affected forever. In some cases we have seen virtually immediate families almost wiped out in one collision,” he said.  Louise Knox, 42, of Spruce Grove, Alta., knows what it’s like to have her world shattered by a drunk driver. In fact, it’s happened to her family three times.  In 1999, her son Mike was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver near St. Paul, Alta., northeast of Edmonton.  In 2007, her youngest son Eric, who was just 17 at the time, was in a vehicle being driven by a drunk driver. The vehicle rolled, killing a young man who was a passenger. Earlier this year, the driver received a four-year jail sentence after being convicted of impaired driving causing death but will be eligible for parole in September.  That same year, Knox was sitting at a stoplight in Edmonton when her vehicle and several others were sideswiped by an impaired driver, who then fled. Several of the drivers, including Knox, followed him until police could apprehend him. The driver was sentenced to a one-year jail term. She said her heart goes out to the families in Alberta who’ve lost so many loved ones in collisions this week – collisions that were completely preventable, in her opinion. Drunk drivers are staying behind the wheel because they’re not taking responsibility for their behaviour and not being caught, despite the best efforts of police, Knox said.  “It’s like Russian roulette. One of these times you’re going to get caught. Hopefully it’s a police officer that’s pulled you over, it’s not because you’ve crashed into somebody,” she said.

 Recession, things are bad all over.. 
Canada economy may be on the mend very shortly according to the too often lying spin doctors, but in reality, in fact it will not be so in the province of  Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick,  Nova Scotia  or in Ontario?  for even many reasons.. firstly the price of oil and gas  is not rising significantly nor is it predicted to raise much in the near future, but the price of the gas pumps will always rise though due to greedy firms.. Next the problem of the border crossing and US protectionism policies seriously has negatively affected Canada’s trade and this is not about to go away, plus Canada’s rising dollar value will not help matters.
Conservative cabinet ministers aren’t all singing from the same songbook when it comes to the recession.  Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday he’s not ready to declare the recession over, as the governor of the Bank of Canada did last week. But Trade Minister Stockwell Day supported the bank’s analysis in a newspaper column Monday. “I’m not kidding. The recession is over,” Day wrote in the Penticton Western News on Monday. Reporters next had asked Day about his comments as he emerged from a caucus meeting Wednesday. He now did not repeat his assertion that the recession is over. LIAR ,  LIAR, LIAR Trade Minister Stockwell Day HAS NOT YET EVEN OPENED UP THE US BORDER STILL TO EASY TRADE ACCESS AS WELL..

Petro-Canada Profit Drops 95% as Energy Prices Fall Bloomberg – Gene Laverty –   July 30 (Bloomberg) — Petro-Canada, the formerly state- owned oil company that’s being acquired by Suncor Energy Inc., said second-quarter profit fell 95 percent as petroleum prices tumbled amid the global recession.


Charge, ad slump hit Torstar’s bottom line Toronto Star – Rita Trichur –  Torstar Corp. warned yesterday that Ontario’s economic slump would weigh heavily on advertising revenues for the remainder of 2009, after the company posted a net loss of $4.4 million for the second quarter of the year.

38 years, and running, in power (with barely ever having to worry about so much as a bad dream of losing power to another party to force them to moderate their “vision” and be pragmatic) and the PCs still haven’t managed to develop enough economic durability to weather a recession better than the “have-not” provinces. Have enough of the blind voters yet realized that this gang of inept twits needs to be thrown out of office with their insane pandering to big business in favour of a government that actually believes in, and delivers, some leadership and governance in favour of the actual people of the province, and provides effective public services for them as well?

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