“If you call its tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” Will Rogers.

Rogers answer was, “Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

Albertans need to consider the P.C.s “10- Year plan” in the same way: calling a plan a “10 year plan” doesn’t make it one.

When one reads the news releases from the PCAA, it is striking that they Party responds to immediate circumstances without any reference to what might be done as circumstances change or priorities. There is no indication in the 10-year plan that circumstances or priorities will dictate doing anything markedly different in year 3, or 5, or 7.

More roads and bridges will be built, but there is no anticipation that mass transit may emerge, and no suggestion that a 10 year plan would include incentives to switch from gasoline to electric (or other) vehicles at any time in the future.

Is the re-institution of health-care premiums a response to the province’s current fiscal situation, or is it a long-term reality? In the 10 year plan there is no suggestion that this is an interim measure, or that the newly announced premium is as much as the current government intends to take. Perhaps the new premium is only the first tranche of what will be a bigger take in subsequent years of ‘the plan’.

Since there is no reference to restoring the historic tax credit for charitable contributions, does the silence of the 10 year plan mean that the charitably-minded are going to be punished forever?

Does the 10-year plan make any reference to the prospect of dramatically different approaches to carbon-dumping, and the economic and social implications of this?

Resource revenues are currently at an historic low (10% of what the Lougheed government charged). There is no reference in the 10 year plan to changing the trajectory. Is the plan to continue giving corporations an almost free ride with their resource royalties?

Alberta has been down this road before. Every election brings a P.C. ‘plan’. And after every election the government – if not the citizens – are ‘surprised’ by events that “could not have been anticipated” and derail the plan. How many times have Albertans learned that the government has been surprised by an unexpected downturn in oil revenues?

Having opened with Will Rogers, we can close with: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me often, shame on me.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *