Easter is not usually the time to reflect upon grumpy whiners; but given Jason Kenney’s mission to rebuild the conservative movement in Alberta this might be a good time to consider where the conservative Roman Catholic leader of the Opposition would take Alberta if given half a chance.
The Conservative Movement
In the absence of concrete policies, it is reasonable to expect Mr Kenney’s vision of Alberta’s future to mirror that of other conservative politicians from other places at other times.
Presumably, we can anticipate a tiny government responsible for little more than protecting the individual and his property rights (aka freedom), encouraging business (aka job creators) by eliminating “red tape” and repealing many laws that protect health, safety, unions and the environment; it will reduce corporate and personal taxes which will create prosperity (we’ll be richer than in the Klein years!) and the rich will care for the poor through charity because they’re not forced to do so through taxation.
Oddly, Mr Kenney prefers to deliver this message of nirvana with anger, not compassion.
Because anger is necessary to overcome compassion and ignore the suffering created by these policies.
Also it helps the conservatives bulldoze through the inconsistencies of their arguments under the principle that he who yells loudest wins.
- Mr Kenney’s promise to balance the budget is better than Ms Notley promise to balance the budget because Mr Kenney will achieve balance one year earlier. So what?
- The provincial deficit will be eliminated by cutting services, not by raising revenue through additional taxes (sales tax, eek!!) because any additional taxes will erode the Alberta Advantage. Alberta has an $11.2 billion/year tax advantage over the other provinces, how much lower must taxes get to improve Alberta’s competitiveness?
- Notwithstanding economists’ arguments to the contrary, the carbon tax is a sales tax in disguise and will be eliminated. It played no role in getting Trans Mountain approved and economists know nothing?
- Climate change should be viewed with suspicion, the science is inconclusive and it’s a ruse to give the government greater control of the economy. Cue conspiracy theorists.
- The government will not address social issues. They fall outside the prime directive which is to make everybody rich. However, the province is free to defund abortions and attack sex education, gay-straight alliances, same-sex marriages, state-funded day care, the use of the non-gender specific pronouns and safe injection sites because they undermine the traditional family and are a form of social engineering. Cue conspiracy theorists, again.
The impact of conservative thinking
Mr Kenney traps Albertans in misery by refusing to acknowledge the government’s obligation to seek solutions to social problems. He won’t explore ways to increase revenue and betrays those desperately in need of the government’s support.
Then to finish the job, Mr Kenney amps Albertans’ frustration and anxiety by telling them they’re being persecuted and victimized by provincial governments that oppose pipelines and a federal government that collects and redistributes their tax dollars under an equalization formula that he himself put into place.
He’s turning conservative Albertans into whiners who’d rather sulk and complain than figure out how to move Alberta forward.
This form of conservative thinking is about as far as you can get from the spirit of Easter and the Christian message of redemption and hope.
Seventy-five years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, said, “Socialism is the economic realization of the Christian gospel.”
One wonders how Mr Kenney would respond.