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The Debaters

Dave 07IWUZ watching Alberta’s political party leader’s debate last week and I agree with the consensus; Rachel Notley won.

But Jim Prentice got it exactly right: we can’t keep doing things the way we have been in the past; we need less arrogance and more integrity in government, and we need a plan. The only problem is that we’ve known Jim for nearly a year now and we’re not sure that he understands any part of that.

When he was running for the leadership of the PC party he allowed his henchmen to buy thousands of PC memberships and then hand them out for free – obviously with the intent that the recipient would feel a “moral” obligation to vote for him for PC leader. Maybe “moral” is the wrong word.

Even more notoriously, during his campaign for the leadership of the PC Party he promised to honour the mandated spring 2016 election date. The other night he challenged Rachel Notley on her math; again more than a little bit ironic since he’s now apparently has mixed up spring 2015 and spring 2016.

Last fall he used the bye-elections to announce schools, dams, and medical facilities in a way that – while not illegal – was recognized by the Ethics Commissioner as immoral.

Then almost immediately he seduced some members of the Wildrose Party – apparently themselves possessing PC grade ethics – to cross the floor with promises of perks and power. It turns out he was just kidding.

Earlier this year we were inundated with a tsunami of PC promises – all expenses paid for by we the taxpayers – and then, as noted before, he called the election a year early. But of course, it’s only “what’s best for Alberta.”

So while Premier Prentice’s call for change is spot on, maybe the first change should be Premier Prentice because it appears that the only significant difference between him and the former Premier is gender.

Brian Jean didn’t win the debate: he mostly kept calling over and over for “no new taxes.” But then, he didn’t have much time to prepare, Premier Jim having gotten his election dates mixed up and all.

And tragically, Brian Jean had lost his son just a couple of days before he became leader of the Wildrose Party. So all things considered, he didn’t do too badly.

But hearing: “No tax increase!” “No tax increase!” “No tax increase!” “No tax increase!” “No tax increase!” ad-nauseum; it starts to get tiresome. But then, if you think about it long enough the nausea starts to dissipate and “No tax increase!” starts to grow on you.

Because, if Brian Jean is really serious about no tax increase, it’s probably quite doable. If we know anything about governments it’s that they waste enormous amounts of our money for layer upon layer of overpaid administration, boondoggles, and corporate welfare. Ending corporate welfare alone would save billions.

Rachel Notley won the debate, no question. However, it’s worth remembering that we are not choosing a debating champion, but a party, and a leader that will set Alberta’s direction for the next four years, and beyond.

Jim Prentice told Ms. Notley that “math is difficult.” Actually it’s not. Ms. Notley promises to take more tax dollars away from corporations. If the government takes more money from a company, then how can that company use that money to hire more people? Yet Ms. Notley says that her plan will add 27,000 jobs. That’s a severely mathematically challenged notion.

We have three granddaughters who went to “McDonald’s University” to learn how to get to work on time, deal with customers; and count change. Ms. Notley wants to raise the minimum wage from $10.20 an hour to $15 an hour, a move which would have raised a huge barrier to our granddaughters, and to many immigrants needing an entry point into the workforce.

But more taxes and “raise the minimum wage” are standard socialist dogma and should raise  serious concern to say the least. When the NDP’s Bob Rae introduced socialist dogma to Ontario, it started Ontario’s slide from  being Canada’s economic engine to its current status as a have not province.

Alberta needs neither a debating champion nor a slick talker. It needs a leader committed to positive change to the healthcare system; a leader committed to sound financial management; and a leader committed to serving Alberta’s taxpayers rather than perpetuating crony capitalism.

AB leaders debateI’d say that life experience is what counts in this election. So as you walk into the polling booth on May 5, thank God you live in Alberta, and remember to breathe. Then take another deep breath, and Remember to Think!


2 replies on “The Debaters”

Good analysis, Dave. Not sure I trust any of them to champion the freedoms of a province of free people, though. As always, it comes down to the dedication of one’s own MLA. That’s who we vote for.

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