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Light at the End of the Tunnel

Frank Atkins

I am certain I do not need to say that 2015 was a dark year in Alberta. At the beginning of that year, I could not image such a horrible outcome: a provincial majority NDP government and a federal majority Liberal government. What made it even more frightening was the election of Trudeau the Junior as prime minister. It was bad enough the Alberta economy was suffering due to a low world price of oil. Election of these two anti-oil governments promised to make things even worse.

I wrote several articles in 2015, predicting what would happen to the Alberta economy and the federal government finances. Immediately upon election, Trudeau the Junior wasted no time showing that he was the son of Pierre. Completely ignoring the state of the federal economy, Mr. Trudeau began running large federal budgetary deficits. The government never offered any plausible economic justification for this policy. Now, federally, we are in the same mess that Pierre left us in. Then, ignoring the state of the Alberta economy, the government introduced a carbon tax. It is never a smart move to tax an economy that is already underperforming. At least you could say he is consistent in the sense that he has never demonstrated a clear grasp of how an economy works, much the same as his father.

Like Mr. Trudeau, Ms. Notley wasted no time showing a complete lack of understanding of economics. Following the federal lead, Ms. Notley quickly ramped up government spending, running huge deficits and incurring large amounts of debt. It will take a long time to dig out of this mess. Then she also warmly embraced the carbon tax, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of how the Alberta economy works.

Now, it is almost like the awakening of the force. Immediately after winning the Alberta election, Jason Kenney showed he has Alberta’s best interests in mind. He is not only willing to fight the federal government’s anti-oil stance, he has also called the carbon tax what it really is: simply, a very bad idea. Mr. Kenney has also shown he is willing to take on the charitable status of anti-oil groups. Mr. Kenney stated, “To the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, to the Tides Foundation, to Leadnow, to the David Suzuki Foundation and to all of the others, your days of pushing around Albertans with impunity just ended.”

In addition to this positive election result, there is a glimmering of hope on the federal level. The Canadian populace seems to be falling out of love with Mr. Trudeau. In early May, Poll Tracker showed the Liberals an average of seven points behind the Conservatives and Abacus reported, “Canadians are more likely to think the Conservatives (36%) will win the next election than the Liberals (25%) while three in 10 think it’s too close to call.” Of course, things can change quickly, and election campaigns matter. A colleague of mine said recently, commenting on Mr. Trudeau, “This guy is a cat on his fifth to sixth life.” However, there is always hope.

Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.