Donald Trump’s scary lead in the Republican nominee race led Ms Soapbox to wonder whether The Donald’s promise to Make America Great Again! with a mishmash of protectionist, racist ideas grafted to a fiscally conservative and socially conservative platform would play well in Alberta.
Legitimizing racism and bigotry
Trump will build a wall to keep out Mexican rapists and drug dealers, ban Muslims from entering the country and deport 11 million undocumented people living in the US.
Well, there’s Alberta Trump’s first hurdle—Albertans will not tolerate a racist, bigoted government.
This became crystal clear in the 2012 election when the homophobic “lake of fire” comments of a Wildrose candidate came to light. It resurrected the Progressive Conservatives’ campaign. The PCs trounced the Wildrose winning 61 of 87 seats.
Examples of social conservatism (like protests against gay-straight alliances) continue to pop up now and then but appear to be limited to Wildrose party supporters and small advocacy groups.
Alberta Trump could not play the social conservative card and win.
National security justifies everything
Trump condones the use of torture and killing the families of terrorists.
In the 2015 election Harper’s Conservatives took 29 out of 34 seats in Alberta. Harper proposed a number of counter-terrorism measures. Some violated the Charter but none rose to the abhorrent level advocated by Trump.
While some Albertans supported Harper’s proposals it is unlikely that the majority of Albertans would accept Trump’s inhumane actions even in the face of an actual terrorist threat.
Luckily for Alberta Trump, national security is a federal matter and he does not need to test this policy provincially.
Reducing income taxes and corporate taxes
Ah, the sweet spot!
Wildrosers and Progressive Conservatives stridently reject the NDP government’s tax hikes.
They’d welcome Alberta Trump’s proposal to reduce taxes with open arms…until they looked at the numbers.
Alberta would have to raise taxes to meet Trump’s targets. Trump is proposing a 15% corporate tax rate. Alberta’s corporate rate is 12%. Trump is proposing a 25% tax on the highest income earners. Alberta’s maximum personal income tax rate is 15%.
Scratch that plank from Alberta Trump’s platform.
Fix the economy
Trump says he’s the only candidate with the business experience to fix the economy. He promises to renegotiate NAFTA (and presumably reject the TPP)* and to punish US corporations that off-shore their business operations.
This resonates with voters but Trump can’t do it alone. He needs help from Congress and the Supreme Court.
Albertans would flock to Alberta Trump if he promised to fix the economy.
The fact that Alberta Trump could not force OPEC to stop flooding the market so that oil prices would rise to, say, $50 and could not force oil companies who are sitting on $8.5 billion in cash to rehire laid-off staff is irrelevant to people praying for a miracle.
Interestingly, Donald Trump offers a bold break from the free market model so dear to the Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives. He’d be an interventionist president who’d impose tariffs on companies that fail to behave.
Alberta’s conservatives firmly reject the idea of government intervention in the market place.
They’re saying no to the $2 billion capital infusion to Alberta Treasury Branch, Alberta Enterprise Corp and AIMCo for business development; no to royalty changes that reward efficient energy companies, no to the climate leadership plan which makes Alberta energy more attractive to outsiders and no to carbon pricing which redirects funds to low income families and green development.
They’re convinced the only way to bring the boom back is to revert to the status quo—which is exactly how Alberta ended up in this economic mess in the first place.
Trump boasts he’s not a member of The Club, the coterie of Wall Street investment bankers, corporate CEOs and powerful politicians who make the rules.
An outsider would be extremely attractive to Albertans who are all too familiar with The Club—the Progressive Conservative inner circle which took care of its own.
Examples include Jack Davis who expensed a $230 Ghandarva (?) massage for his partner while earning $1.2 million/year as the head of Calgary Health, an appointment he received after rotating through a number of deputy minister posts in the PC government.
Albertans elected many outsiders when they voted for the NDP in 2015, and while some voters truly preferred the NDP candidate others were casting an anti-PC vote.
The “outsider” card might work for Alberta Trump.
Albertans are frustrated and angry.
They’re looking for someone to blame for the worse economic downturn they’ve ever experienced. Some blame the PCs who lacked the foresight to avoid this mess. Others blame Canada for failing to get them out of it. None blame the oil companies that expanded too fast and flooded the market when oil prices were high.
A Trump-like figure—without the racist overtones—could channel their frustration by blaming the NDP for failing to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
Alberta Trump would not be able to fix the economy but if the economy recovered under his watch he’d get credit for the return to prosperity…
…or if the gods are kind, Rachel Notley will be at the helm when oil prices pick up and the work she’s done to modernize royalties, diversify the economy and care for the less fortunate will come to fruition leaving Alberta Trump no choice but to slink back to the swamp of US politics where he belongs.
*Ms Soapbox welcomes any proposals to re-examine NAFTA and the TPP. The ISDS clause that allows foreign corporations to sue Canada if laws change in a way that negatively impacts their bottom line violates national sovereignty.
Thanks Keith. These are interesting times!
If the price of oil rises, maybe some of the ugliness we’ve seen in Alberta lately (the Kudatah crowd) will fade into oblivion where it belongs. Unfortunately, Albertans seem prone to Trump-style politics whenever the economy stumbles.
You’re right Public Servant. My Anthropology prof said any group of people under threat will usually attack the group they perceive as weaker than themselves rather than the one stronger than themselves who caused the problem.
Instead of blaming oil companies for expanding too quickly Albertans are blaming the “socialists”, the immigrants, the refugees, anyone but themselves for not recognizing that Alberta needs a real diversification strategy.
‘Albertans will not tolerate a racist bigoted government’
Susan my first comment about your post. I have not even read 1/3 of it.
What makes you believe what you said above?
Just 6 months ago all newspapers and experts in the US said that Donald Trump would not survive 1 month into his campaign
Hitler was democratically elected in the most educated country in the world at that time and without the support of his people he would not have been able to do what he did.
These issues are social complex and the anger around the world including Canada, is real and people will tolerate it until they can no longer control it. That is the basis of any revolution and believing that we have reached the time in human evolution when all those issues are now resolved peacefully is very naïve.
That is the way the Great Empires thought and they are all gone. The US is next and Britain’s just disappeared 60 years ago. Of course they all try to maintain it but you just have to look at history and see how many great civilizations have disappeared, some completely.
We think we are it and so we are pushing our luck.
With great respect to you I would never say or believe in the phrase you wrote above.
Especially when we already have the seeds of it in the province and they are just waiting to sprout.
Carlos you raise a very important and legitimate point. In the first draft of this post I said Albertans would accept a racist bigoted government. This was based on the rhetoric spouted by the Alberta First Patriots (the use of the word “patriots” is usually a red flag) and other people ranting on line or in letters to the editor against refugees, immigrants, gays, you name it. Then I looked for evidence to support my gut feeling and remembered that the majority of Albertans rejected the Wildrose because of the “lake of fire” guy and a couple of years later turned Prentice’s Bill 10 (his attempt at the gay-straight alliance bill) into a gong show because it was nothing more than a puff piece, it still catered to the red wing nutbars. But to your point, just because the majority rejected homophobic politicians in the past doesn’t mean it will reject them in the future. So yes, you’re right, we can’t assume that all will be well just because we wish it so.
Thanks, Susan. You mentioned Donald Trump’s famous “wall” he’ll build across the Mexican border. At least Trump’s ‘wall’ is proposed for the border of a foreign country. In 2001 six Albertans sent an Open Letter to Premier Klein asking for a “Firewall” —not against a foreign country — but, would you believe, against their fellow Canadians! And even more unbelievable, the lead signature was no other than a Calgarian named Stephen Harper — someone citizens later trusted to lead Canada for almost a decade. http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes2004/leadersparties/leaders/pdf/firewall.pdf,
By the way, most of the other signatures were from the extremely influential ‘Calgary School of Economics”.
Verna, thanks for reminding us of our very own wall, drafted by our very own no-longer-progressive conservatives. I read Tom Flanagan’s description of the Calgary School in which he refers to the Firewall letter and speaks approvingly of the 10% flat tax which, he says, “will unleash the energies of the private sector”. That was written in 2001. Since then Alberta has experienced two booms and busts. The flat tax unleashed nothing more than excessive profits which found their way into the pockets of a very few, leaving so many more unemployed or underemployed. Corporations take care of themselves. There’s a reason why Suncor is spending $4.2 billion to buy Canadian Oil Sands and TCPL is spending $13 billion to buy Columbia Gas while at the same time laying off thousands of people–it’s called shareholder value, which has very little to do with being kind to your workforce. Here’s the Flanagan link: http://voegelinview.com/legends-calgary-school-guns-dogs%E2%80%A8and-women-love/ (for which I thank you).
At a religious conference in Iowa a few moths ago one of those fire and brimstone pastors was calling for the execution of gays and then introduced Ted Cruz, currently in 2nd place behind Donald Trump in the GOP race. Yeah they’ll probably elect that bleeding heart liberal Trump guy this coming November.
Ronmac the clip is horrible. First the pastor’s self righteous pride at standing tall and urging the execution of gays and then Cruz’s response to the reporter, he doesn’t know what “this gentleman” has said. It’s as pathetic as Trump’s response in relation to the endorsement from KKK leader David Duke. First Trump didn’t know who David Duke was and then he “misheard” the question. Political pundits say that Trump will kill the Republican party for at least 3 election cycles, but Cruz is just as bad if not worse.
“…blaming the NDP for failing to pull a rabbit out of a hat.”
Hooo hoo! Caught me off guard with that one.
Susan, if you weren’t the legal type I’d risk taking you to court for a new keyboard, mine’s soaked!
Cynically, I would argue that this particular descendant of the Drumpf family is being allowed to do so well (politically) by ‘the establishment’ because ‘they’ figure ‘they’ can handle someone who will obviously listen carefully when Money Talks, and, for the growing masses of people slowly becoming aware that they possess a modicum of conscience combined with political power (‘the establishment’s’ real concern), Mr.Trump makes for an excellent foil to their preferred candidate: Ms.Clinton. In my opinion Mr.Sanders was never a serious offering (I mean, can you even imagine anyone in Alabama voting for someone with a Northern accent so thick?), more likely than not he was used as a means to gauge what the Lord Mammon is up against this election cycle.
What I find most mixed-up about the whole affair is the upside-down rhetoric; with Mr.Trump spouting protectionist mercantilism, and Ms.Clinton seeming to be even more of a warmonger than any republican has ever been.
In any case, guess who always wins no matter who wins…
GoinFawr, “upside-down rhetoric” sums it up. To add to the wackiness of Clinton and Trump saying the opposite of what we expect we’ve got Ms Saba Ahmed, US patent attorney, an observant Muslim and former Democrat urging Muslims to support Trump because he’s the only one who can fix the economy and Republican values (pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, free market economy) are Muslim values. She says she’s not worried about Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric because she’s convinced she and her group the Republican Muslim Coalition (membership undetermined) can lobby him out of it…lady give your head a shake!
Hi Susan. I don’t comment a lot about politics. I can’t quote stats or any other compelling budget numbers. I live in BC. I remember once before there was a time when BC’s housing market was kicking Alberta ‘ s because Alberta was in hard times. In due course, Alberta ‘ s economy turned itself around. Also, really, all Alberta is about is oil? Talk about putting your eggs in one basket. The Middle East control that game. Stop whining Alberta about who did what and diversify. I mean a good investor will diversity your stock portfolio.
It was hard to comment on this post. A, I know I’m not as educated as your readers and some will probably think I dont know what Im talking about, but that doesnt bother me. I have the right to have an opinion. B, I can’t stand the sight of Donald Trump. I believe he is the poorest excuse of a man. Our neighbour’s south better wake up, or Mr. Trump will take them back to the dark ages. Cheers.
Joanna, I’m glad you commented, in the end politics is about how we live from day to day.
I agree with your point about Albertans whining. They’re whining about the federal government’s equalization program. They’re whining about Quebec. They’re whining about Keystone. If they took half the energy they waste whining and blaming someone else for their own lack of foresight we’d actually get ourselves out of this bind.
It’s like the grasshopper and the ant. Albertans lived very very well through the boom and now they want someone else to carry them through the bust.
I agree with your point on Trump. The scary thing is that the others are just as bad or worse. What is the US coming to?
I must comment – I am surprised that you found a photo of Trump where he wasn’t yelling at the top of his lungs. Thanks for giving more detail to a scary politician who seems to say nothing at political rallies except – USA! USA! USA! It seems all he can do is rally the people.
Linda, that’s what happens when a reality TV star enters politics, all show, no substance. Yesterday in a speech about Israel Trump abandoned his off the cuff, stream of consciousness speaking style. He was reading a prepared speech from the teleprompter. First he said he’d dismantle the Iran deal, then he said he’d enforce it. This might work for his reality TV fans, but it’s scaring everyone else to death.
BTW I picked the second picture because it reminded me of Joan Hickson, the British actress who played Miss Marple–same pursed lips.
Earlier in the day, during a bull session with the Washington Post, Trump said he wanted to pull the US out of NATO, saying that this organization was from a bygone era and that it is nothing more than a gravy train for military contractors. No matter what you think of Trump he seems determined to pulling the US back from it interventionist foreign policy that has only made things worse.
You’re right Ronmac, the US’s interventionist foreign policy has a habit of backfiring, Iraq is a classic example. It’s hard to say what Trump would actually do if he got into the Oval Office, but so far it looks like he’d pull back from all foreign conflict (unless there’s something in it for the US) and close America’s borders–he says the Brussels attack was the same as the Paris attack and the Paris attack was the result of illegal immigration so US borders must be closed to Muslims indefinitely and others must undergo more rigorous screening. Perhaps we should just put a bubble over the US; they seem to cause more harm when they’re out than the people they’re concerned about letting in.
well, Miss Soapbox, I think we can trace a lot of our current economic malaise back to these Free Trade Agreements (FTA). The TPP is only the latest in a long, long line of them crisscrossing the world over the last 20 some years.
To be sure, free (er) trade is mostly a good thing. For all of us, generally. But these deals have very little to do with free trade and much more to do with freeing corporations from the reach of law. The main characteristic in all these deals is the Investor-State Dispute Mechanism, what you refer to as ISDS. To remove this clause would be to remove 99% of the deal participants.
Countries have gone along with this because, I think, the higher ministerial levels of gov’t are in thrall to corporations and lobbyists and because these deals are conducted in deep, deep secrecy. Any person who has no conflict-of-interest in these deals is totally shut out of the proceedings. There is no way to know what or why one thing or another is being negotiated.
But corporations are being given a free ride. No favored status to locals and no requirement for foreign corps to adhere to local laws. And no requirement to patriate profits, they just go pffft!
Why would any entity, corporate or individual, care one whit about something they are not bound to, something they don’t have to pay for, something they don’t have to respect, something they can take, or leave? Like air and water, like servants or whores (pardon my language); we treat, culturally and socially, all these with contempt and derision. And they are all in a sad and sorry state.
Is this what we want for our economy? For our Nation? For our legacy?
Political Ranger: I agree 100% with your take on the damage caused to society by the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause in these free trade agreements. If I were a paranoid sort I’d say that it’s the first step towards one global government with the “government” being corporations, not sovereign powers. In any event the rationale put forward for the ISDS clause is that it protects corporations from a foreign country’s corrupt justice system. My response to that is corporations pride themselves on taking risk. They need to assess the risk of doing business in a foreign country. If they decide the reward is worth the risk, so be it, and if things go pear-shaped, too bad. Secondly, the country risk argument does not apply to American companies doing business in Canada, Canadian companies doing business in the US and North American companies doing business in Europe and many other countries in Asia so give it up all ready.
PR and Susan,
Here is a simple metric for determining whether or not a ‘free trade’ agreement is a good deal for the nation signing it:
Is the signing nation’s national balance sheet in the red or black?
If the answer is ‘red’ then these agreements are always a self-reinforcing bad deal for the sovereignty/economy/public-works of the nation that will have to live with them.
Think of the debtor/creditor relationship and who ultimately pulls the strings in that dynamic.
Think Bob Rae, and what happens when a populist pol tries to enact a mandate from the masses that contradicts the interests of the unaccountable, unelected foreign entities holding the population’s debt.
Think Honduras 2009.
Think pretty much all of Africa.
Think Anthony Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”
Think of a slowly boiled frog.
Think of Mackenzie King’s insight into ‘usury’
And if you want a SOLUTION to that problem: think of Gerry McGeer, or of this fine young mind:
and realize just how little of Canada’s constitution your present parliament seems to understand
Susan another example of Justice in our great nation. Criminals can now choke women during forceful sex (rape?) as long as you have a good lawyer. Furthermore it is amazing that the lawyer is a woman. Great no wonder people are going crazy. Society is crazy and we should take a look at the quality of our water and food because the levels of psychopathy we are reaching are really disgusting. Money talks at all levels. No wonder women avoid justice! No wonder native women do not even bother to report anymore – they could end up being raped themselves.
Political Ranger well said. I totally agree with you but unfortunately we are not done yet. I am quite certain that our Justin is going to approve the TPP and that will be the end of the Canada we know. These trade deals are now slowly determining who are the winners and the losers in our great capitalist system and Canada will not be on the winners list. One just has to look at the map and who has the strongest voices to see who the winners are going to be, this is why the US is pushing so hard for it. We are no longer nations in the minds of our owners. Money comes from regions and weakening the concept of nation is their paramount job right now. This is why Harper was trying to get as many trade deals as possible. He will be one of the ‘Show me the money’ group. In the meantime the revolution keeps getting bigger and bigger. In fact I think that the tipping point is near. I predict Germany will be the first to lose its grip on the rest of the European community. They have enriched themselves by being the export nation in Europe but I do not believe they will be able to keep that lottery going.
“…Criminals can now choke women during forceful sex (rape?) as long as you have a good lawyer…” Mr Beca, I respectfully disagree. The Ghomeshi trial has led to numerous calls to weaken the safeguards built into our criminal justice system to ensure fair trials. However, we would do so at our peril. The right to a fair trial before an impartial tribunal; the presumption of innocence; the right of an accused to confront the witnesses against him or her; and the right to counsel: all of these are safeguards against tyranny. The judge in that trial said it himself in his verdict: an acquittal does not mean the events charged didn’t happen, only that there is reasonable doubt that they did.
Imagine for a moment that you yourself were accused of a heinous crime. Wouldn’t you want the kind of zealous representation that Mr Ghomeshi received? Wouldn’t you want your accusers’ credibility tested in exactly that same way? Yes, many accused persons in Canada do not get the quality of representation he did, if at all, but that is a weakness of our legal aid system, not of the principle itself. That is an argument in favour of radically reforming legal aid, or introducing a US-style public defender system (one rare example where their system is superior to ours), but not for weakening those safeguards. We are appalled when we learn of someone being incarcerated for years, even decades, as the result of a wrongful conviction. And yet, diluting the presumption of innocence and other rights of the accused would inevitably increase the risk of more such convictions being entered.
In my humble opinion, justice in cases such as this one might be better served if the accused person’s identity were kept just as confidential as that of the accusers, at least until the trial is over, and then only if there is a conviction. The court of law ought to see the evidence before the court of public opinion.
jerrymacgp I fully agree with you and I would not want it any other way. The point of my post, and I hope most people understood it that way, is that it is quite clear that whoever has the best lawyer wins. It is not a question of justice at all, it is a question of money just like everything else in our society these days. That is what is causing severe problems everywhere and if it continues it will destroy whatever we have. The problem is that usually after chaos there is no guarantee at all that the system will get better. In fact history demonstrates to me that is not the case in 90% of the cases.
So improving what we have is very important but unfortunately those who have the power and money never want to do that.
That was my point and I appreciate your post and your question about mine.
Now the question to you is how do we make the system fairer? You obviously approve the current system with reservations of course but you have to admit that those questions you and I have are what is killing the fairness of the process. I have no doubts that Jian Gomeshi is out free because of his lawyer, who apparently is known for destroying victims of rape without much sweat.
You asked me a question and my can answer I would want a good lawyer not to get me free but too protect me from lawyers that are letting criminals on the streets. Now I ask you – if you had a member of your direct family raped would you accept that because he was a person with the money he would go free? It is not easy to prove that one has been raped. In the moment of shock many things are forgotten and when against people with power it is basically impossible to win the case.
Now I can tell you that it is not an easy feeling to know for sure that a female member of your family has been raped and that the rapist is free and probably doing the same.
Your suggestion would not eliminate the power of money and as far as the court of public opinion I agree but I also have to say that between Jian Gomeshi’s silence and several women complaints it is hard to believe nothing happened and it is fine for him to go free.
Anyway life is a complex issue and Jian Gomeshi may have to live with his conscious if he has one.
Jerrymacgp and Carlos: I held off replying to your notes because I was writing a post about the this very issue. The Ghomeshi case is indeed complicated and while I agree that the criminal justice system worked as it was supposed to–the standard of proof in a criminal case is being proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and this is how it should be in any trial that could deprive someone of their freedom–the judge, in my humble opinion, made a serious error when he allowed defense counsel to introduce evidence of contacts and communications between Ghomeshi and the women that occurred after the incident.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on the issue after you’ve had a chance to read my post.
I’m waiting for Drumpf to adopt Harper’s “Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline” plan.