The Alberta election debate: lamentations of the Lamborghini Brigade

di Joe Volpe del April 8, 2019

TORONTO - It may be poorly administered (for 47 years prior to the 2015 election, the province was run by Conservative governments), but It is not a “poor”’ province.

Its GDP in 2017 was measured at $331,937 Billion; third biggest in Canada. Its GDP per Capita, at $78,213, ranks number one by a wide margin over Ontario’s $58,687 (134% of the Ontario earners’).

It is rich in resources: 24% of its wealth (about $80 Billion annually) is derived from oil and gas extraction activities.

In fact, at today’s rate of consumption, Alberta’s known reserves are estimated by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to suffice for another 250 years. The sector drives the economy.

Does the province have problems? Yes.

The price of its oil and gas is subject to the market price dictated by world factors and the decisions made by Big Oil in the USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and elsewhere.

It also needs pipelines to get its product to market.

There are other issues, of course. Leadership first among them; then, economic diversification, community building (Health and Education) and integration. As one might expect in a province that is less than 115 years old, very few can claim roots in the province that go back more than three generations.

Just by way of illustration, the current Minister of Finance is of Italian background, as is about 3% of the rest of the population.

The four candidates, Premier Rachel Notley (NDP), Jason Kenney (UCP), David Khan (Liberal) and Stephen Mandel (Alberta Party) talked past each other in front of the cameras in a bid for public support.

They tested the audience’s staying power.

Yearning for a medal, I listened and watched to the very end. Here is what I learned.

Khan has the best tailor, and, I now know he is the only constitutional lawyer in the race. The other lawyer, Notley, has all the facts and no message (she also dresses at Walmart).

Mandel, former mayor and businessman, forgot his tie at Walmart and is unsure of facts or direction. Kenney, who hasn’t come across a fact he couldn’t distort or ignore, had someone dress him up so people wouldn’t notice he was there.

But we (my grandson watched with me for the last half hour) did. Apparently, Kenney is running against Justin Trudeau.

You know, the Prime Minister who paid $4.5 Billion of Canadian taxpayer money to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline that Alberta needs to get its oil to market.

Trudeau is Notley’s “ally”, Kenney insisted.

Trudeau isn’t in the race. However, self-declared right-wing extremists, racists and bigots huddled and hiding as candidates under Kenney’s party umbrella are.

He wouldn’t disavow them. Nor would he address the investigations by the Electoral Commission and the RCMP into the alleged fraudulent practices he and his team utilized so that he could win the leadership of this “collection of misfits”.

My ten-year-old grandson offered this observation: “I like the guy on the right (Mandel); the other guy (Kenney) is a clown”. From the mouth of babes…

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