Alberta Politics
UCP Leader Jason Kenney, apparently wearing one of Stephen Harper’s old unthreatening sweaters, at Spruce Meadows south of Calgary yesterday with his blue-hatted supporters (Photo: Facebook).

How to save a province by destroying it: Jason Kenney releases the Full Monty, political version

Posted on March 31, 2019, 1:04 am
7 mins

About that 117-page “full platform” released by United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on the billionaire Southern Family’s back stoop south of Calgary yesterday, the first thing it’ll do is raise the deficit.

That’s right! Raise it. Increase it. Make it bigger. Because that’s what happens when you eliminate at least $5.7 billion in revenue no matter how many pieces you move around the chessboard.

Surely it wasn’t the intention of Mr. Kenney’s handlers to have the cut out letters frame him with thoughts like LIES and BS! (Photo: Facebook).

Quick! Somebody call the Calgary Herald, the Fraser Institute, the taxpayers’ federation!

What do you mean they’re not picking up? The relentless deficit scolds who’ve been screeching at the NDP about the deficit for the past four years? Really?

Oh, wait. I get it now. The NDP were spending our money on crazy stuff. Like health care, schools, university educations for our children, and making sure we still have an economy when the fossil fuel market fizzles out. (Don’t worry about it. Never gonna happen.)

Rachel Notley’s even been talking about $25-a-day child care, for crying out loud! We can’t afford that!

None of that social licence baloney for our UCP, though. They’re going to hose away money, but they’re going to hose it away smart!

You know, like those tax cuts for our poor billionaires, like the Southerns who so kindly loaned Mr. Kenney their private Spruce Meadows equestrian park, and for the foreign fossil fuel corporations that have been raking it in at their U.S. refineries thanks to that price differential thing, laying off their Alberta workers in droves, and letting the NDP take the rap.

Sorry, kid, you’re going to have to take a pay cut to finance this stuff. But, trust me, little buddy, you’re going to love it. You won’t feel a thing – unless you’re on the streets because your folks found out you’d joined the gay-straight alliance at your school, of course.

That tax cut, see, it’s going to create jobs, and that’s going to create tax revenue! Just you watch! It says so right in those 117 pages. There’ll even be a surplus by ’23. Really!

Never mind those economists who say this is magical thinking that never works. What do they know, for crying out loud? They’re college professors. Some of ’em even wear bow ties! Forget about that New York Times guy who won the Nobel Prize for economics, the one who says there’s no pot of gold at the end of the corporate tax cuts rainbow. Of course there is! Nattering nabobs of negativity, and socialists too, every one of ’em. (Except for Jack Mintz, of course.)

And when it creates jobs, the cash’ll come pouring back into the economy like it did in the good ole days when we had Ralph Klein and the Alberta Advantage, never mind that natural gas prices are in the dumpster now too.

Hey! Mr. Kenney might even give you all a cash payment big enough to buy an iPod Shuffle – too bad they don’t make those funny little things any more. What were they for, again?

And if you’re feeling blue about those foreign-funded eco-radicals in Vancouver, like the mayor, well Mr. K’s going to spin up some dough to shut them up till the sea rises and they all float away. Wait! Scratch that bit. That stuff about the climate changing? Just alarmism.

Now, where was I?

(Takes breath.)

Toto, already a basket case just thinking about it!

Dave here. I’m back. Sorry folks, I was having an Alberta moment.

Seriously, I’m not making this up. This isn’t an April Fools story that slipped in a day early. It’s an actual fact. It was a real news story in Alberta yesterday. You can read about here, and here, and here, and here. See what I mean? Even those cynical journos are taking it seriously.

Of course, it wasn’t really the Full Monty. You’re not going to find much in there about the UCP’s plans for women’s reproductive rights, for example. For hints about how that plays out, look east.

If the UCP gets elected, we – ordinary Albertans – are going to pay big time.

If they win, though, it’ll be because an awful lot of our neighbours want to believe Mr. Kenney because, as a friend of mine puts it, “they blame the NDP for chasing off the foreign capital that kept them wealthy for most of their lives rather than accept that the fall in world oil prices is caused by U.S. fracking flooding the North American market with cheap high quality oil and natural gas.”

“If they don’t blame Premier Notley for their misfortune, then they have to accept the fact that a Premier Kenney will be powerless to restore their income,” he said in a comment on this blog last week. “And that would mean they have to abandon hope.”

Yes, Toto, if this guy gets elected, I don’t think we’ll be in Kansas any more. Or, more to the point, that’s exactly where we’re going to be. And magical tax cuts don’t work there, either.

Looking on the bright side, though, maybe you really can save a province by destroying it!

17 Comments to: How to save a province by destroying it: Jason Kenney releases the Full Monty, political version

  1. Farmer Brian

    March 31st, 2019

    The UCP, the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal party are all proposing to lower the corporate tax rate. It appears to me that it is the NDP that are on the outside looking in on this one. In fact when it comes to thinking outside the box the Alberta Liberal’s certainly have an interesting set of proposals in relation to tax policy. Raising the personal tax exemption to over $57000 and bringing in a revenue neutral sales tax, certainly original thinking. Meanwhile NDP supporters continue to ignore the fact that raising the corporate tax rate did not increase revenues and that business simply went elsewhere. Enjoy your day.

    Reply
    • PIGL

      March 31st, 2019

      Mendacious troll is mendacious.

      Long version: a revenue neutral sales tax plus a high exemption is simply a flat tax disguised to fool the innumerate. Hardly original thinking, and it does nothing to fix the over-reliance on resource revenues. As for the implied cause and effect relationship between raising the corporate tax rate and “business simply moving away”…these rates are now 12%, same as in BC and SK. So I think that, as usual, you are completely full of shit.

      Reply
      • Sam Gunsch

        April 1st, 2019

        well said. good effort. but his tinfoil is impermeable to reasoning.

        Reply
    • St Albertan

      March 31st, 2019

      Farmer Brian; I’ve developed a grudging respect for your intelligence but in this case I have to worry for your sanity! Alberta has had and still maintains the lowest tax rate regime in North America. When you adjust for workforce tax implications it’s even better. Yet the grinding continues! Why is that? Why do we need to reward the people who prevented us from having a trillion dollar wealth fund? Am I to now view your posts as purely partisan as opposed to a neutral understanding of reality? Do you actually believe that offshoring revenue to investors in Texas and on Wall Street via tax cuts for corporations will help us in any way? Inquiring minds want to know! Oh, by the way! Five million citizens in Norway built a better military than ours! They built a better healthcare system than ours! They built a better infrastructure than ours! They also built a trillion dollar wealth fund by looking at us in 1989 and deciding maybe Lougheed was right! You, if you are what I think you are, are a party that’s directly responsible for crippling what could have been the richest sub national jurisdiction on earth! Well done!

      Reply
      • Farmer Brian

        April 1st, 2019

        I do enjoy the comparisons to Norway. For 2019 Norway’s corporate tax rate is 22% down from 23% in 2018. In Alberta the corporate tax rate is 27%(12% provincial, 15% federal). Personal income tax rate in Norway tops out at 55% I believe and in Alberta at 48%(provincial and federal combined). Norway has a VAT of 25%, Alberta has a GST of 5%. Personally I think it is wrong to spend all of our non-renewable resource revenue and put none of it into savings. Every party running in the present election is planning on spending it all and depending on it to balance the budget. Look at the NDP projections for 2023-2024, over $12 billion in non-renewable resource revenue to balance the books. Today we have $4.1 billion in corporate tax revenue and $5.5 billion in non-renewable resource revenue. So let’s say you doubled Alberta’s corporate tax rate from 12% today to 24%, this would in theory bring in $4.1 billion more in revenue. Would this work? You would by far have the highest corporate tax rate in Canada so my guess is business would reorganize itself to pay taxes in a lower taxed jurisdiction. It is said a sales tax in Alberta would generate $1 billion for every percentage point. So we would need a 5% VAT to replace resource revenue and if we wanted to replace resource revenue and to get close to balance we would need a 10% VAT when added to our 5% GST would give us a 15% harmonized sales tax which is still much lower than your favoured jurisdiction of Norway at 25% but it would allow us to save resource revenues for future generations! Enjoy your day.

        Reply
        • anon

          April 1st, 2019

          Farmer B: You miss the point dragging red herrings across the discussion. The assumption is that if Alberta had actually followed through on Lougheed’s royalty / ownership methods as Norway did, then Alberta would have over two trillion $US in a heritage fund. The rest, like personal income taxes and the absence of a sales tax would have been a given. But it is too late for that thanks to the fools who called themselves Conservatives or worse Reform or UCP.

          What to do now is more important. Seizing, without compensation, an 80% equity share in all fossil fuel ventures in the province would be appropriate and legal with lots of legal precedents: the seizure of the CWB and the 80% equity position in cattle slaughter taken by the Government of Quebec are just two examples. This would give us the opportunity to move forward as a decent society.

          Notley and the NDP are proposing a very moderate way forward with growth in government expenditures really tied to population growth and most of the deficit expenditures aimed at infrastructure and value adding projects like the petrochemical complex near Grande Prairie. Slow but steady with minimal boat rocking.

          The UCP option leads to social unrest and ultimately a very strong political reaction. The tolerance for Klein style cuts and freezes is simply no longer on the table. I like Notley’s way better. If you are a real conservative, in the best sense of the word, you should too.

          Reply
        • St Albertan

          April 2nd, 2019

          Farmer Brian; How much foreign investment does Norway have? How much does it need? Did they add sustainable taxation to the Lougheed resource management model or not? How would you grade them on their success as conservative managers of their resources to benefit themselves? Isn’t that what conservatism is supposed to be? Let’s be clear and straight! The integrated players aren’t leaving. They’ve shown that buying assets here in times of distress is part of their business model. Home grown added value is good for them and our economy plus the most moderate hedge towards increasing Canadian and Alberta ownership of full stream profits. Yes, diversified export channels are needed but they’ll come a lot faster on our current path. Carbon taxes have been a positive in both employment and GDP, let alone GHG reduction. Again, the integrated players don’t mind them. Please, try to see the sense, when it’s right in front of you! It would restore my faith in your mastery of reality!

          Reply
    • b_nichol

      March 31st, 2019

      I can’t help but recall, every time I hear “corporate tax cuts”, the late Jim Flaherty’s and former Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney’s descriptions of the results: “Dead Money”.

      Reply
  2. Larry

    March 31st, 2019

    Thank you David Climenhaga great Blog liked it and so true. The UCP old line Party with nothing new to add. Just more Career Politicians like Mr. Kenney. Two decades for him now.

    Reply
  3. Public Servant

    March 31st, 2019

    Buried somewhere in those 117 pages is a promise to get rid of overtime for banked hours. This is a blatant attack on workers that I hope gets the attention it deserves.

    Reply
    • Les Magnuson

      April 1st, 2019

      People bank hours because there no work and in order to get a steady paycheck they draw on banked hours, it’s a simple concept that helps the worker and the company, one that a government sponge would not know or care about since they have their guaranteed gig on the public dime – go get a real job in the real world

      Reply
      • Purple Library Guy

        April 1st, 2019

        You do realize that aside from the slur at the end, you appear to be agreeing with Public Servant? I mean, it sounds like you like banked hours, while Public Servant was against the UCP getting rid of them. Or are you going to suddenly change your position once you realize it’s your party doing the bad thing?

        Reply
  4. Scotty on Denman

    March 31st, 2019

    A certain malaise afflicts the political right, a very general one that slices and dices all sorts of dismal sciences as they find themselves increasingly funneled into the garborator of neoliberal nostrums now as generally dismal. US president Donald Trump personifies the general effect of aligning feed-stock in the hopper, but happy to be in the van, to set not a tone, but THE tone that each hapless victim must adopt perforce whether pseudoCons, neoCons, SoCons or any number of neoliberal versions of the neo-right while experiencing the ponderousness of mind when it’s far outweighed by feet almost infinitely outstretched as they descend through an ‘event horizon’ below which nothing escapes except the quintessentially uncertain. Thus the last paean before blessed silence is the zenith, not nadir, of certainty, and it’s entirely upside down. What else would it be?

    Trump alluded with TV-reality grit and perversity to this upside down effect when he quipped that he’d still be elected even if he shot an innocent bystander to death in broad daylight, on a crowded street for all to see. He was essentially saying: “What the hell’s going on? The world’s upside down and I’m the ‘it!’—a politician, not a whit!—the perfect guy for doing policy!…and I know more than anyone about everything, ever!…” He’s been right, so far as it’s gone.

    One could cite numerous examples, but perhaps the most plain is that the world—the whole world, not just the human one—is dying of petroleum poisoning so the solution is to poison it some more (cf Trump’s promise to refire the coal industry even though it’s already put to bed and cannot compete with the glut of fracked petroleum products that currently exists—it’s not simply a lie: it’s necessarily upside down, coal being one of the worst kinds to combust into the air—that’s the real point, economic logic notwithstanding). Another is the notion that health and prosperity for everyone in a safe and stable society is best achieved by giving the public weal to big, private interests who remove it from the jurisdiction and spend there on what they, not citizens, want, and in ways that degrade the very values these privateers disingenuously champion. If these aren’t the prescriptions of philosophies about to be hung on the morrow by an infinity of rope, then they’re at least pathetically upside down in an Hieronymous Bosch sort of way: future art critics will dismiss these monsters as perspectively outdated superstition but, in fact, they happen to be our current reality.

    A case can be made that broad diversity devolves to pointed conformity as the coffins of fate are bundled axially through the small end of the funnel. To wit: despite signing the same paean in extremis, the particular feedstock that is Jason KeKKenney is a life-long career politician of the social conservative kind while, at the same time, Trump, the peculiar hopper-stuffer at the drip end of self-criticality, is not a politician at all, neither a conservative of any kind, and a complete and total sociopath. Neo-right absurdity attends its exposure and demise.

    A certain logic grinds catastrophic globalization beyond the extrusion die and into the post-end-of-history record: first, post-Soviet neoliberals usurped conservative lexicon (not traditional Toryism) to demonize citizens’ own democratic sovereignty and eventually neuter its alleged socialist naivety as if it were superstition; second, public doubts gather about the nabobs of ‘Free Enterprise’ conspicuous engorgement of wealth that was suppose to “trickle down,” the commandeered levers of politcal power recommending patience, reassuring all the while that voters can always yank their trap-door levers, at will—while, that is, the neo-right assiduously sabotages precisely those democratic mechanisms; next is “deny, deny, deny” the various evidences of failure and skulduggery; then various institutions are blamed, socialists, environmentalists, pop artists and any other whistleblowers against cronyism and systems-gaming; getting near the end, as real conservatives eschew being further duped, chasm-size fissures shatter across society and Mother Nature starts losing her patience, as undeniable human-caused climate change denies further credible denialism and fiscal charlatanism starts looking like unprosecuted crime, distractive rhetoric is deployed. As upside down as it appears, the rationale is that every previous step bought enough time for profiteering and subversion of sovereign democracies to proceed another step—so why quit now? But in this circumstance, when one foot is already past the event horizon, the next cannot help but follow.

    I’m hoping the charlatanism and racism featured in these final phases of upside down-ness will disappear into a silent, black hole. As True Believers and End-Times Rapturists join thoughtless faith with the pyramidal schematics of neo-right bullshit, I’m praying as hard as an atheist can that democratic means will be sufficient to end these impediments to getting down to business: the business of recruiting hearts and minds to rescue our shared environment from certain fate, even by way of somewhat more fuzzy uncertainty.

    Yet, it’s fatalism, not patriotism, that’s the last refuge of these ultimate scoundrels—upside down or any way you look at it.

    Reply
  5. pogo

    March 31st, 2019

    Oh by the way! I’d save millions for the UCP! Just buy a case of two inch tape! A pair of scissors, and hire a thirteen dollar per hour 17.5 year old to cut 4 inch strips. Apply the strips to your supporters who want everything from end-times to road warrior libertarianism, and then fire them when they age out! Plus? Adopt Derek Fildebrandt’s recommendation to make guns easier to get. Just start shooting these assholes! Now, we live in this age. It’s not such a fine thing. When do we push back? I don’t know? Want a tune? Yes? You’re my bud! https://youtu.be/6KFVVKFxr60

    Reply
  6. Farmer Ted

    April 1st, 2019

    I think “Farmer Brian” is actually Ted Morton. Have a nice day!

    Reply
  7. Alex c. Polkovsky

    April 1st, 2019

    That New York Times guy has two of those Nobel Prize gongs. But enough about Krugman. I’m thinking more about another Nobel winner, Joseph Stiglitz. Mainly some time his sharper observations:

    Reply
  8. Dave

    April 1st, 2019

    I am at a bit of a loss to understand how the UCP ever got a reputation as good financial managers. None of the main people in their party has experience in a financial position at either the Federal or Provincial level and many of them have little or no real business experience either. There are a handful of former PC MLA’s (the ones who didn’t leave or were forced out) who have some actual experience in being in government, but even they were not in major financial positions. Of course even then, the PC’s had a very mixed record of financial management too with mostly deficits in the last 10 years and a tendency towards overly rosy financial projections. The Federal Conservatives, where Kenney came from were not much better with mostly deficits too, with the exception of an arguably inherited surplus that disappeared shortly after they were elected and one debatable surplus at the end with a lot of numbers fudged. Given all this, why the heck would any thinking person in Alberta believe the UCP likely can or will get this provinces finances into good shape?

    As I see it, the end outcomes financially between the NDP and the UCP plans are not that much different. The UCP says they will balance the budget a year earlier- they say they will restrain spending on education and health care more, but those gains, if any, will mostly be offset by corporate tax cuts and the loss of revenue from the carbon tax to pay for things like Calgary and Edmonton’s LRT expansions. So it seems to me the choice is not so much between different financial outcomes, but how we get there – corporate tax cuts with less spending on education and health or vice versa.

    If I was an Executive for a large corporation (remember Kenney’s proposed tax cut does not apply to individuals or small businesses, only larger corporations), I suppose I might find his plan appealing. If I was someone who had kids going to school or was concerned about being sick in the next four years, I definitely would not support it. Surely we can not have already forgot the chaos and damage the various PC spending restraint caused to the health and education systems before. Do we really want to ride the PC spending roller coaster again, but just under a different party name – spend a lot on health and education when times are good, cut back when times are not? I think the roller coaster ride made people quite queasy before and it is one reason why the they are no longer around (except for the remnants that may have some influence on current UCP financial policy).

    Reply

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