Alberta is One of The Wealthiest Places on the Planet - Why Do We Have a Financial Crisis?

March 5, 2015 Stephen Murgatroyd

Let us get one thing clear. Alberta is a very wealthy place. Here is a table of GDP per capita for each Canadian Province / Territory and the UK (source Statistics Canada and Gov.UK)


State / Province

GDP/Capita (US$) 2014

UK

36,202

Canada

41,889

BC

47,590

Alberta

80,516

Saskatchewan

72,156

Manitoba

45,970

Quebec

44,428

Ontario

49,940

Newfoundland and Labrador


65,958

Nova Scotia

40,473

PEI

37,967

New Brunswick

41,723

Nanuvit

65,222

Yukon

72,880



We have more than twice the tax room of the UK, yet our Government behaves as if we are “maxed out” on taxation for corporations, individuals and resources. While all agree that services should be provided as efficiently as possible, almost no one agrees that this should be the only way in which Alberta responds to the incompetence of the present Government (which got us into this mess by not thinking clearly about its dependency on royalty revenues).


Part of the problem is that the GDP/per capita figures masks the rising nature of inequality in Alberta. We have a growing number of working poor, poverty is rising and women, FNMI, recent immigrants and those facing energy poverty get hit hard by rising prices and the cost of housing. Those at the top of the pile want to preserve the status quo (and they bankroll the present government), those at the bottom of the pile have no voice.


This is why the current debate about budgets and the role of Government is so important. Wildrose Premier Jim Prentice has a chance in a generation to fundamentally change the paradigm and do the right thing. From all he is saying, he will keep the paradigm and reinforce its key idea: let the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and we can screw the middle class (especially the public servants). This is pure Republicanism come to Canada. It is the tragedy that is about to happen in Alberta.


There will be fancy rhetoric, all sorts of doom and gloom and all sorts of promises that “front line services will not be impacted by any of our decisions”. Its all a smoke screen for what is about to happen. Just follow the money – see who wins and who looses.


It is “trickle down” economics with a touch of austerity and a big dose anti-professionalism. Klein-Smart. It is the new Republicanism, the new cocktail for the rich. All of which we have clear and compelling evidence that it will not work and is more likely to make things worse than better.


What is interesting is that we have no opposition to speak of. No alternative to vote for in the snap election that Wildrose Premier Prentice seems likely to call. This too is part of the new Republicanism – we replace monarchy with monarchy and call it something else.


Alberta is in trouble. It need not be. But it is. Will anyone offer to save us from the new WIldrose Premier?


Written by Stephen Murgatroyd - contact stephen.murgatroyd@shaw.ca for permissions.
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