How Truth Dies

The UCP leadership race just began and already we’re being asked to choose between two conflicting versions of the truth.

Jason Kenney says Brian Jean is a poor financial manager because Jean created a $337,000 deficit in the UCP caucus budget–apparently Jean embarked on a “massive hiring spree” to run a “shadow leadership campaign” at the taxpayers’ expense.

Brian Jean says nonsense, there is no deficit and accuses Kenney of “mud-slinging and innuendo”.

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Brian Jean

Who do we believe? Either there’s a $337,000 hole in the UCP caucus budget or there isn’t.

The erosion of truth

In his book On Tyranny, Yale professor Timothy Snyder offers an analysis of what happens when the electorate is barraged by competing versions of the truth (aka lies).  

Snyder’s focus is national politics, but his observations are relevant at the sub-national or provincial level too.

Here’s how Snyder’s analysis applies to the erosion of truth in Alberta politics.

Presenting inventions and lies as facts  

Jason Kenney claims that “95 per cent of PC members vote yes to unity”.  His Twitter avatar is a 95% button that proclaims “95% of PC members vote yes to unity.”  He shows up at town hall meetings with charts and graphs stating that 95% blah blah blah unity.

This is not true.  Yes, 95% of the PC members who cast a ballot voted to merge, but only 55% of PC members showed up, 45% stayed at home, therefore the percentage of PC members who voted yes to unity is 52% not 95%.

Bearing in mind Kenney’s loosey goosey understanding of percentages, one should be wary of his claim that Jean created a $337,000 hole in the UCP caucus budget.

But is Jean telling the truth when he says there is no deficit?

Jean argues there’s no deficit because deficits are measured at year-end not three-quarters of the way through the year.  This is only partially true.  Actual spending versus budgeted spending is measured at year-end and at the end of each quarter because smart businessmen want to avoid a nasty surprise at year-end.

The real truth here is math is hard, especially for politicians who torture numbers until they say exactly what they want them to say.

Snyder describes a number of other tactics used by politicians to bend the truth.

Shamanistic incantation

Tyrannical leaders use endless repetition to make fiction plausible (eg Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers) and transform individuals into stereotypes (“Crooked Hillary”).

Both Jean and Kenney are quick to berate Alberta’s “accidental NDP government” (insulting all the voters who intentionally marked the NDP box on their ballots).

They characterize every NDP policy from the royalty review to the curriculum update as “ideologically driven”.  They promise hand over heart to repeal every NDP policy when the UCP forms government.

The repetition of “accidental government” and “ideologically driven” obscures the fact that the royalty review was led by well respected experts and endorsed by the energy sector and a 30 year old curriculum cannot prepare our children for jobs in the 21st century.

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Jason Kenney

Albertans trying to decide between Jean or Kenney need to ignore mindless incantations and demand concrete action plans.  Otherwise they’ll end up electing a UCP leader whose chances of success as Alberta’s premier are as likely as Trump building that damn wall.

Magical thinking

It’s impossible to cut taxes, eliminate the debt, and maintain existing social services–unless you’re Brian Jean.

He promises to cut the budget by $2.6 billion by reducing the number of managers in the system.  He’d start with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

The AHS org chart shows one CEO, 13 VPs and 54 people or entities reporting to the VPs.  Assuming Jean fires half the VPs and half their direct reports he’ll save around $4 million.  If a $4 million reduction is the best he can do with a department that’s almost three times larger than the next biggest department it’s difficult to see how he’ll reach his target of $2.6 billion without dipping down into the front lines of education, transportation, seniors, etc.

Kenney promises to restore the Alberta Advantage and put Albertans back to work by cutting taxes on oil companies, restoring coal to its former glory, eliminating the carbon levy, and suing the feds for imposing the federal carbon tax in 2018.

Reducing taxes won’t raise the global oil price or bring back oil companies who’ve left the oil sands in favour of cheaper US shale plays.  Ottawa will phase out coal by 2030 and there are no guarantees that Alberta will win in a law suit against the feds.  So what’s Plan B…never mind, it’s magical thinking.

Misplaced faith

Magical thinking leads to decisions made on faith, not logic.  Snyder says Trump is a prime example, Trump convinced his followers that only he can solve America’s problems (“Believe me”).

Jean and Kenney continue to tell Albertans their lives are ones of quiet desperation.  And only they can fix it by fighting Trudeau to ensure Alberta’s oil gets to foreign markets (the fact that Trudeau has already approved two pipelines is irrelevant).

They describe Alberta as a hapless victim, a wasteland of empty buildings and derelict cars.

They ignore the fact that Alberta is leading the country out of recession.  Factory sales are up 18%, retail sales up 9%, average weekly wages up 1.7%, GDP up 2.9% (and rising) and unemployment down 7.4%.

Given these facts why do Jean and Kenney continue to spout their nonsense?

Snyder puts it like this.  Nationalistic politicians are not interested in the real world.  Their focus is power, victory, defeat and revenge.

Hey, it worked for Trump, it might work for the leader of the UCP.

Sad.

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53 Responses to How Truth Dies

  1. Mike Priaro says:

    “…to ensure Alberta’s oil gets to foreign markets (the fact that Trudeau has already approved two pipelines is irrelevant…”

    Trudeau has actually approved three pipelines: Keystone XL to US Gulf Coast refineries, Enbridge’s Line 3 to U.S Midwest refineries, and the Trans Mountain expansion which will primarily supply California and Puget Sound refineries.

    No new markets there – and 99 percent of Canadian crude exports already go to just one customer – the U.S. Shameful!

    And the incremental volumes in those new pipelines to the U.S., 830,000 bbl/d, 460,000 bbl/d and 590,000 bbl/d, respectively, will ensure that there is nothing left for Energy East which Trudeau has sold out to Quebec objectors in return for its 40 Liberal seats in the next election.

    • Thanks for the clarification Mike. Last week I was on a flight from BC to Calgary. Two energy guys were sitting behind me. One worked with an oil field service company, the other worked for TCPL. The oil field service guy was changing jobs, moving on to an electricity generation company headquartered in BC, the TCPL guy ran pipeline maintenance. Both agreed that the energy business had reached a plateau and the future was in solar tiles. I don’t know if they’re right or not but it was a sobering conversation.

  2. Brunswick says:

    Albertains should vote for neither.
    the closest Alberta politician to the heyday of Lougheed, is Notley,
    Trumpian Mini-Me’s arn’t going to Make Alberta Great Again,
    And no matter how many conservative chant the Alberta Prayer, or how passionately,

    “Please, Dear God,
    Give us an Oil Boom again,
    We promise not to piss it all away,
    Like we did last time,
    Amen”

    Oil ain’t coming back.

    • I agree with you Brunswick, especially your point on the Trumpian Mini-Mes telling people that they will make Alberta great again. Snyder discusses this in his book. He calls it the politics of eternity, in which nationalistic populists whip up a sense of victimhood and a yearning for a past that never existed. This is dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is that “dwelling on victimhood dulls the impulse for self-correction”. If politicians convince Albertans they’re under attack from the socialist hordes then they won’t be thinking about how to prepare for a future economy that’s not heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan and Brunswick The present Alberta government has no control over oil prices. If the Alberta PCs, after their very first government, did not spend our money like an unrestrained kid with an allowance in a candy store, there would be a nest egg to fall back on when times got tough. All they did was blow the money on one big scandal after another. Accepting substandard royalty rates for our oil was also a mistake. Big time. That lost even more money. I do not see oil prices rebounding to high levels. Not anytime soon. The cuts that the UCP would propose would have long term negative effects. The Alberta PCs deep cuts from the 1990s are still impacting us today. It will take time to fix the damage from these cuts.

      • Dwayne, you summarized the situation perfectly. Thank you. I don’t understand why the UCP leadership candidates and their supporters think the budget cuts won’t be just as damaging this time around. But then again people approach these issues with emotion not logic, don’t they.

  3. jerrymacgp says:

    I want to speak to Mr Jean’s attack on middle and senior management in government and the ABC sector, the larger of which is the over 90,000-employee behemoth called Alberta Health Services. The larger the organization, the more layers of management you need. In an organization the size of AHS, with a mission that touches the lives of every man, woman and child in the province, you need a management structure that can not only take care of the day-to-day, but plan strategically for the next decade and beyond. You need not only direct care providers, but support staff to take care of everything from maintenance and housekeeping to supply and procurement; research and knowledge translation personnel to ensure best practices at all levels of the organization; and financial stewardship personnel to ensure public funds are only used to support the mission (I wonder how much of that incident at MacEwan University can be attributed to skeleton levels of administrative staffing).

    AHS has long struggled with a sense of bureaucratic inertia, brought about by fear: fear of losing jobs as governments micromanage the health care delivery system to adapt to shifting political winds, the nstead of allowing long-horizon planning; the recent Auditor-General’s report points this out in great detail. In my view, the organization is gradually trying to overcome this longstanding tendency and to begin seeing past the current fiscal year. This kind of talk about slashing middle and upper management runs the risk of exacerbating this tendency, as people in those roles start worrying about their own job security and their families’ futures, instead of the big picture, and undoing all of the good work that is starting to emerge at AHS. It is severely counterproductive and potentially destructive to the health of the health care system.

    • Excellent comment Jerry. People seem to forget that AHS was created by the PC government when it decided centralization was the way to “slay the debt” (to use a Klein phrase). The health minister, Ron Liepert, said he wanted AHS to function like a corporation. This is a bizarre analogy given that unlike a private company, AHS can’t stop providing services just because they’re “unprofitable”. Furthermore, as someone who’s worked in the private sector for decades and lived through many cost reduction exercises, I know that picking a number out of thin air and cutting staff and postponing plant turnarounds, etc until you hit that target doesn’t work in the long run.

  4. Ed Henderson says:

    It appears both of them are full of BS. One of the great things about today’s technology is that no matter what a politician says today can be proven to be a lie tomorrow. On the other hand, one of the great problems faced by our society today is that no matter what a politician says today can be proven to be a lie tomorrow.
    It was so nice to be just a dum turd, no worries, no frustrations. The bigger the lie, the more we believed it.
    Who gives a dam about WR or UCP finances. We all know who’s going to pay the piper.

    • Ed, you make a great point when you say the bigger the lie, the more we believe it. Tim Snyder refers to Victor Klemperer’s observations of Germany in the run up to WW2. Many of Klemperer’s friends urged him to stop trying to logically understand what Hitler was saying and to just have faith in the Führer. Klemperer said that once people stopped thinking for themselves and accepted Hitler’s lies on faith, their transition to nonthinking acolytes became permanent and unshakable. They still believed in Hitler even after the war ended and his atrocities came to light.
      Synder’s message is think for yourself, ask questions, stand up for your rights.

      • carlosbeca says:

        The people that even after the war continue to support what Hitler did are simply racists and murderers and waiting for another opportunity to go on the war path. One just has to know in depth what the SS did to realize that these people were perverts and sociopaths. They were allowed to come out and so they did and in the process killed 6 million Jews and created the consequences we all know about. I have no place in my world for this kind of people and unfortunately it seems they are a majority of Trump’s supporters. It does not take much to get them on top again.

  5. J.E. Molnar says:

    Jason Kenney and Brian Jean both need to start providing evidence-based arguments rather than demagogic-based rants.

    Even with the UCP’s casual relationship with the truth, the future bodes well for the NDP. Rachel Notley has been performing like a fine-tuned turbocharged engine — exhibiting leadership characteristics the stiff, wooden wannabe UCP leaders have come to jealously admire. 2019 will be nothing if not interesting.

    • JE: your comment made me think. One could argue that Kenney and Jean are resorting to demagoguery because the facts are against them (Alberta is indeed coming out of the recession, etc). However, I would wager that demagoguery is in their blood. It didn’t take long for the UCP leadership race to go into full frontal attack mode. Kenney chose the words “massive” and “hiring spree” to inflict the most damage possible on Jean. This “no holds barred” approach is common in conservative leadership races, but I don’t recall seeing a similar level of animosity in the Liberal or NDP leadership races. Similarly, Kenney and Jean are trying to outdo each other as the one who will “fight” the hardest for Alberta against Ottawa and BC and god knows who else is. This is not sane leadership. We live in a complex world. We need thoughtful intelligent leadership not slogan spouting ranters.

  6. Roy R. says:

    Susan, your flawed analysis of the vote is misleading at best. By your same analysis, in the last election, 40.57% voted NDP but the turnout was 54.2%, so only 21.99% voted NDP. The reality is that the percentage of vote is determined by those who show up, not by those who don’t show up. Unity was approved by 95% on both PC and Wildrose sides, with very few (8000) taking out memberships in both parties.

    As a lawyer, I expect a more honest analysis from you.

  7. Brian Pansky says:

    @Roy R.

    I don’t see any reasonable way to call her analysis flawed, misleading, or dishonest. It’s simple, fact-based math, and she was very clear about what she meant.

    • Roy R. says:

      And it was clearly flawed and misleading, per above.

      • Brian Pansky says:

        It is not very clear, you made no logical argument capable of reaching such a conclusion. Maybe you just need to be more clear But let’s look:

        By your same analysis, in the last election, 40.57% voted NDP but the turnout was 54.2%, so only 21.99% voted NDP.

        Sure. So? What did she say contrary to this?

        The reality is that the percentage of vote is determined by those who show up, not by those who don’t show up.

        Yes, that’s precisely the reality omitted in Jason Kenney claims. Thus Jason Kenny was the one who was misleading, dishonest, etc. You’re making Susan Wright’s argument for her. That looks like you just accidentally made an own-goal to me.

        Unity was approved by 95% on both PC and Wildrose sides, with very few (8000) taking out memberships in both parties.

        Also, sure. 95% of those who voted. So? What did she say contrary to this?

        Hopefully my response here helps to clear things up.

      • Brian Pansky says:

        *(ah, I wish I could edit the reply I just posted) to be clear: Jason Kenny didn’t just “omit” that reality, he said something completely at odds with it. He said 95% of members. Not 95% of voters. This is a real difference, and the two should not be conflated.

      • It was clear to me Brian! Thanks.

  8. Roy R. The problem with Kenney’s statement is he said the UCP vote was supported by 95% of PC members (not true). Kenney should have said it was supported by 95% of PC members who cast a ballot (true). I provided a link to Graham Thomson’s article that explains why this is an important distinction.
    Brian, thanks for the support.
    GoinFahr: thanks for providing the clarification on voter turnout in the last election.

  9. Dwayne says:

    This is a very in depth article. We can see that the UCP is fraught with a myriad of problems. They are set to implode and collapse, right from within. The UCP is desparate. They will try to say anything to claim power, including spouting statements, devoid of any facts. It is all they want is power and control. What the Alberta PCs were, in the very beginning, is very different from what they became. What they became was a disaster government, only capable of making many very costly mistakes, squandering our wealth on many very big scandals and leaving core services and essential things gutted. The Wildrose would most likely gone down that same road. I think the UCP would just be the same. The UCP is filled with controversy, drama and incompetence.

  10. tom mcpherson says:

    Dwayne’s last sentence sums it all up and probably trickery and deceit should be added also. I will
    never support them again unless they offer a apology for all there treatment of Albertans over the years following Mr. Lougheed to the present.

    • Dwayne and Tom: I agree. Even the less extreme UCP leadership candidates like Doug Schweitzer (the only UCP candidate who actually showed up in person to support the Pride parade before it became the thing to do) propose deep cuts, etc. It would be really nice if the UCP offered some details on how this balanced budget, no debt, energy based economy is going to work, otherwise all we’re left with is, as Carlos suggests, string theory.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        🙂 which is as easy to understand as 2 + 2 = 22

      • Carlos, about string theory, wouldn’t it be lovely if someone could explain it to us in terms mere mortals could understand…? 🙂

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Well Susan I have been reading about it for many years now and I have failed to actually even get into it and enjoy understanding it. Cosmology is one of my hobbies and it is fascinating but just like the mathematics and ideas of the UCP they have been stuck for 30 years now. Mathematics has been used as the language of the invisible but we are now in a bind. Roger Penrose wrote a book about this which if you like this stuff is worth reading. It is titled ‘Fashion, Faith and Fantasy’. He is one of these writers that I usually avoid because his books are not easy but this one is ok. It is about what is happening with Physics and I like it. Believe it or not it seems to be a similar problem with politics and many other fronts. We have to transition to new ideas, co-operation, more concern about people and society rather than this inevitability and literal interpretation of a book written 2000 years ago by people that liked science fiction. Furthermore it is time to realize that fighting for survival in the Rome Coliseum has ended a while back although the UCP wants to bring it back. Yes societies exist and people rather than just the elites, are human and important. It is time to quite slavery once and for all. Fear, anxiety and secrecy may be what Jason Kenney and Brian like but they can keep it to themselves. I for one, despite all the challenges we are facing, prefer to work with my colleagues and friends in order to find solutions to a better society based on hope, democracy, equality and freedom of expression.

      • Carlos a while ago my daughter showed me a presentation on the 11 (or was it 12) dimensions. I felt like someone was trying to turn my mind inside out! I like your comment about the need for society to focus on working together to solve the problems we’re facing instead of trying to recapture a golden age that never existed. Surely that would be easier to achieve than understanding strong theory!

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan, The UCP does not seem to have bright people in it. Even when MLAs in that party call people they disagree with communists, there is a problem. What are the UPC party policies? I hope they do not get the chance to form government in Alberta.

      • Harce says:

        Jason Kenney is correct in that our services are more expensive than any other province’s. This is from years of the Klein/Stelmach/Redford/Hancock/Prentice governments buying off the greedy unions with too much of our money all for labour peace. We need major cuts to health, education, and every government department now, and stop mortgaging our children’s future.

      • Harce, I can’t agree with you on the cause of the deficit. The economist Trevor Tombe suggests it’s may be a combination of over spending and not collecting enough revenue. My worry is that deep cuts in education and healthcare will damage our children today, as opposed to “mortgaging their future” (I’ve heard Kenney et al say that many times but no one has explained what that really means).

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Yes I can imagine your face trying to understand 11 dimensions. I read a book that suggested that they fold on each other and are so small we cannot really experience them – hmmm.
      What fascinates me is that suddenly but not unexpectedly, everything seems to have hit the wall. Everything we have been doing is so unsustainable that paralysis was inevitable. We have now tipped the curve and a total paradigm shift is underway. Not just another industrial revolution like many people have suggested, but a complete global mindset change that will create of course some chaos. If the likes of Kim Jong-Un and Trumps do not destroy us all, we could be on the verge of some interesting shift to a higher consciousness level that will make civilization possible for eternity. People like Jason Kenney, Brian and others will be made irrelevant if not idiotic. The future of politics is not going to be what they envision. It will be for sure a more cooperative, positive and open minded human oriented system rather than some corporate state where the CEOs are the new aristocracy. That will not happen and if it does, it will be destroyed in the future. It is clear that is not a solution at all.
      I have to say that knowing what is going on in the world of social democracy, I am appalled that our NDP has not moved more daringly into new areas of thought. Replacing light bulbs and shower heads is what activists were talking about in the 1980s. Right now we could for example be promoting the creation of CO-OPs in the energy field. We could be setting up a province wide one where the government would partner with the citizens. Why not restructure the education system so that we can eliminate tuition fees at University level even if in stages. Why not promote the construction of highly insulated homes with the excess cost being paid on a longer term mortgages. I am sure that stopping incentives and grants to the oil and coal industries could free money that could be used for that purpose. There are so many possibilities. We have the people that can think of new ways but we just do not have the will. We are stuck in old school competitive politics that take us nowhere.
      As the premier I would right now call on all parties and some relevant citizen groups for a honest open conversation to see what we can do. Many companies like Landmark for example are already building net zero homes at very affordable costs. Why not talk to them and see what can be done for a total launch of a serious program of standard changes and construction of new homes with minimum consumption of energy. The same can be said in Agriculture, Biological sciences, health on and on. Unfortunately our governments spend most of their time begging around the world for trade and in many cases for just a free trip. Why are we still stuck on the pipelines? No one at this point is going to spend billions for something that has a limited shelf life. If they do they are not good business people or they are marching for oblivion. Edmonton, is already buying electric buses that are capable of working all day with one charge. Wake up people, the future is here. .

  11. Bruce Gunn says:

    Excellent article! So descriptive of the imported “GOP” styled politics of the CUP! A good read on Labour Day thinking of an honest NDP government for working class Albertans.

    • Bruce thanks for reminding us that it’s Labour Day. People seem to forget that progressive politicians and activists were responsible for workplace innovations like the 40 hour work week, weekends off and safety on the job.

  12. carlosbeca says:

    This to me is another one of those episodes of the reality show ‘You are Fired’.
    It seems jumping on the Illusion bandwagon was good enough to win elections. Unfortunately I think that the electorate is realizing that the so called populist revolution is another snake oil reality show. It started with Syriza in Greece that is suddenly extreme right wing and is probably ending with Trump’s tweeter governing style.
    We need way more that what the UCP is presenting and if they continue the way they are going I think they may very well collapse before the election. People are getting what is going on. This is nothing but another schema to get us where they want to take us, which in this case is probably the market paradise. They use repetition to make garbage turn to reality so I will repeat one more time – these people believe that the ‘Market concept’ is a divine gift from God. I am not sure when they met God but I think it may have been that Chicago economist Milton Friedman when he visited the Empire State building top floor.

  13. Well said Carlos. So here’s the $64,000 question: why are these reality show snake oil salesmen attractive to the electorate? A Berkeley sociologist, Arlie Hochschild, wrote a book on this issue. She says Trump’s Southern voters feel like they’ve been betrayed by the elites. “They envision themselves standing patiently in line, waiting for their share of the American dream, only to see others — blacks, ambitious women, immigrants — cut in front of them. They feel sold out by those in charge…the Washington establishment and the liberal media play favorites, rewarding their own — while the “rednecks” of Louisiana get screwed.” They say they’re not racist, “it’s all about others cutting in line in front of them.”
    In other words, blacks, women and immigrants who have the skills and the education to advance should just step to the back of the line until someone (the elites?) hands the whites their slice of the American dream.
    If this isn’t white male privilege (also known as racism or sexism) I don’t know what is. Here’s the link: https://www.google.ca/amp/www.sfchronicle.com/news/amp/Berkeley-sociologist-crosses-over-to-Trump-s-11160689.php

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Interesting article but I disagree in some ways about what she is suggesting.
      The disappointment with the elites is I believe wide spread and not just the Southern States. I really believe that Trump is above all reaching that sense of ultra nationalism that exists in the US. The same exaggerated complex of superiority that build policies like the Washington Consensus

      • Carlos, you’re right about disappointment being widespread, but I get concerned when we talk about the “elites” because it’s not clear to me that we’re all talking about the same group or groups. If we’re talking about those in power who continue to push trickle down economics even in the face of evidence that it’s not working, then we’re on the same page.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan to me what people in general mean by elites is the group you mention plus those that support them with a clear purpose of building the neo-liberal society now in place that came out of all that garbage talk in the early 1980s especially from Margaret Thatcher and Reagan and with the full support of the Chicago school of Economics and Milton Friedman.
        They call it trickle down when in fact it is trickle up. 🙂

      • Carlos, your description is a good one. Seems to me Trump and many others are well on their way to pushing the neo-liberal agenda forward. Thankfully more and more people are waking up to this fact.

  14. Harce says:

    “Mortgaging the future” refers to the $10+billion deficit the NDP is running each and every single year. Only by taking on the unions and the special interest will we be able to stop borrowing against our children’s future. Klein was right to cut in 1993, but wrong to give the unions sweetheart deals in 2005. We need deep cuts, and we need them yesterday.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Harce let us just do that but instead of always targeting the unions let us include all of us and in special those that have benefitted the most in the last 30 years – the very wealthy.
      It is very easy to ask for cuts for everyone else but us. I agree we need deep cuts but do it for those that can afford as well. This idea that for example CEOs get 30% increase annually and plus a little bonuses in the millions and at the same time cut employees salaries and layoff half of them is just not working and that is one of our main problems .
      Targeting unions is passé and right wing propaganda. I for one am tired of that slogan. What about ending tax evasion and target those that not only do not pay taxes but put their money in tax havens? What about targeting those that use ‘special accounting’ and use loopholes to avoid taxes but continue to use our health care and all of our social programs. There is a lot more than UNIONS.
      By the way I am not a union person.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Becca For a good number of years, the Alberta PCs were slackards in relation to collecting unpaid taxes from corporations in Alberta. The amount is a fair bit of money. After their very first government, the Alberta PCs wasted and lost a very large amount of money by being careless with Alberta’s revenue. Austerity, deregulation and privitisation was how the Alberta PCs decided to handle things. That did not work out so well.

      • Dwayne, thanks for raising the issue of uncollected corporate taxes. If the UCP leadership candidates want to raise revenue one thing they could do is beef up the government’s ability to collect business taxes.

        The fledgling NDP government discovered that over 38% or $431 million in corporate taxes had been uncollected by the PC government. They’re also hamstrung by PC legislation that says a corporation can keep 50% of the amount in dispute until it’s resolved.

        Apparently the amount of uncollected taxes could grow to $1.1 billion unless this problem is brought under control. The NDP government hired more tax collectors, but I don’t think it changed the legislation.

        As we say in business, this is “low hanging fruit”, however I’ll bet the UCP leadership candidates won’t touch for fear they’ll alarm their corporate friends.

      • Carlos, you make an excellent point about corporations raising CEO salaries and bonuses while at the same time laying off staff. Very few CEOs have the decency to forego a pay hike at the same time they’re axing their employees. I worked for a company that went through three major “right-sizing” exercises while continuing to give its CEO magnificent raises. He retired with over $30 million in deferred compensation, bonuses and pension payouts…and 2 years later declared personal bankruptcy. How’s that for ultimate justice!

    • Dwayne says:

      Harce We do not need deep cuts. We should never have had those deep cuts we had in the 1990s to begin with. The Alberta PCs, after their very first government, went way off course. They stopped collecting decent royalty rates for our oil, did one very expensive scandal after another, favoured deregulation, privatisation and had bad tax polices that lost more revenue. Cuts will have to be dealt with at some point in the future and we will not be further ahead.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Dwayne unfortunately I remember all of that – I have a good memory.
        We are paying the price for all the policies of reducing everything that favours corporations and the wealthy but of course they point the finger to the NDP. The consequences of the PC reality show are now in evidence and they continue to promise more cuts because of course the richer the already super wealthy get the better the crumbs for the rest of us. Hard to believe that people actually believe this absurd.
        I have no doubts whatsoever that as soon as the election campaign starts they will drill into everyone’s brains that the NDP is bankrupting the province.
        I personally do not believe in deep cuts either but I also think that ignoring a deficit of 10 billion for 3.5 million citizens is crazy. We should implement a sales tax immediately. Alberta does not need to be in the red. The way we are living is not sustainable. It is our responsibility as citizens to make sure that the province is healthy and that our environment is taken care of and that we move into a sustainable life style that will allow most of us to survive with dignity. Life is not only MAKING IT and the heck with everything else. That is just garbage. The richer should pay their fair share instead of escaping taxes and expecting good standards of leaving. There is a lot of work that can be done and should be done for more realistic expectations and better citizenship contribution to society instead of this crazy idea that society does not exist and that life is like a Roman Coliseum.

  15. Dwayne says:

    Susan In relation to the uncollected corporate taxes in Alberta, it was already over $1 billion dollars in 2014. In the years prior, it was quite a large amount of uncollected corporate taxes. We know who the servants and masters were in the Alberta PC regieme.

  16. Dwayne says:

    Carlos Beca We have to deal with the (Alberta PC created) financial crisis that Alberta has somehow. Is raising taxes the answer? People will not respond kindly to that. It would be very scary to see what the UCP would propose.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Dwayne – yes I understand that people will not respond kindly to raising taxes because people think that services like food comes from Safeway. Well you want a less kindly reaction? Cut Health care to a half which is what will have to be done to pay for 10 billion dollars deficit. Just impose a system where people will have to pay half of their health bills or another way would be to get rid of public education.
      People have to educate themselves and stop complaining about reality. If people do not want to pay taxes than they have to live without the services they have. It is very simple really.

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