Socialism Remembered

Dave 07

June, 2015   I lived in Saskatchewan from 1945 until 1975. During most of that time, the province was ruled by the socialist CCF, now called NDP. Their rule continued, with brief interruptions, until 2007 when the small c conservatives of the Saskatchewan Party took over.

On the other hand, from 1945 until 1971 Alberta was ruled by the small c conservative Social Credit Party. Since then, it’s been run by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, although a more accurate title might be, Purportedly Conservative.

Comparing the path the two provinces took is instructive, and serves as a stark warning to Albertans.

In 1951, the population of Saskatchewan was 832,000, and the population of Alberta was 940,000; a gap of only 108,000. Only 10 years later the gap had quadrupled to 407,000; by 1991 it was 1,556,000, and just before the Saskatchewan Party took power in 2007, the gap had climbed to 2,305,000.

The gap is now nearly 3 million, with Alberta’s population slightly over 4 million and Saskatchewan’s slightly over 1 million. But since the NDP’s departure in 2007, Saskatchewan has experienced a boom, and its population is growing.

This doesn’t take complicated analysis. Alberta was pro-business and Saskatchewan was pro-government. High taxes and a collectivist approach to governance caused an exodus to Alberta.

People from across Canada and around the world moved to Alberta for opportunity, but most critically, Saskatchewan’s native born sons and daughters became its biggest export. (It was a joke in Saskatchewan that the most appropriate graduation gift was a set of luggage.)

When my wife and I arrived here in 1975, the cul-de-sac that we moved into had 10 homes; six of them occupied by economic refugees from Saskatchewan with its lack of opportunity and crumbling infrastructure.

Now, under a small c conservative government, Saskatchewan is booming. It’s not because God placed oil in the ground after the Saskatchewan party took over; nor did potash or lumber or opportunities in technology appear just recently.

(Let me repeat: 35 years ago I saw a map of oil development in the western provinces, and going from Alberta to Saskatchewan it dropped by about 75%. That border was put there in 1905; the oil arrived somewhat earlier.)

It’s booming because upon taking office, Premier Brad Wall told one and all that Saskatchewan was open for business. And he meant it. He lowered taxes and removed barriers to business. That is anti-socialist, but it unleashes opportunity. And to be fair; finally recognizing reality, the NDP under Roy Romanow had started becoming more business friendly. some years earlier.

In Alberta, Rachel Notley, the leader of the NDP has become a bit of a star, and everyone agrees that she won the leaders debate. But on May 5, we Albertans are not choosing a media personality, or, a debating champion. We are choosing a  party, and a leader that will set a direction for our province for at least four years, and possibly far longer than that.

We have the responsibility to make a thoughtful choice.

Ontario used to be Canada’s economic powerhouse. Then in 1990, after years of conservative rule, Bob Rae and the NDP took over and set a new direction for the province. Ontario is still struggling with the aftermath of that dalliance with socialism, and, almost inconceivably, Ontario is now a have not province.

(Some have pointed out that there were also liberal governments in Ontario, and so called conservative governments in Saskatchewan. That’s what they were called, but they acted very much like Alberta’s PCs have lately. PC stands for: Purportedly Conservative.)

But it is standard practice for socialist parties like the NDP – (and so called centralist or even conservative parties when they’re chasing votes) – to ignore both basic economics and human nature. No province in Canada has succeeded economically under an NDP government, and their young people pay a high price through lost opportunities. (Saskatchewan did begin a comeback under Roy Romanow, but only because he began to adopt free enterprise economic policies.)

During the leader’s debate, Jim Prentice told Ms. Notley that “math is difficult.”  Actually it’s not. Ms. Notley promises to take more tax dollars away from corporations, yet expects those corporations to create 27,000 more jobs. The real world does not work like that. To repeat, socialist ideology never works because it ignores basic arithmetic, and human nature.

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. Training kids and new immigrants is a major cost to employers, yet 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 for our granddaughters and for many immigrants needing an entry point into the workforce. (I have hired at least 20 teenagers to work in our business over the years and I know this from personal experience)

But more taxes and a high minimum wage are standard socialist dogma, and when Ms. Notley says she is going to do it, I’d suggest that we take her seriously.

She also promises another royalty review. Ed Stelmach tried that and it drove a significant portion of our oil industry to Saskatchewan.

Alberta doesn’t need a debating champion, nor do we need another four years of week after week of revelations of PC sleaze and corruption and mismanagement and arrogance.

Alberta needs a leader with practical life experience; a leader committed to genuine improvement of healthcare delivery – regardless of ideology; one committed to sound financial management; and one that will put Albertan’s interests first.

We don’t know much about Brian Jean because he’s only been a party leader for about a month, but Graham Thompson of the Edmonton Journal wrote about his interview with Mr. Jean.

What makes this article extremely intriguing is that Graham Thompson’s views have tended to lean consistently left, and in the past he has been quite sympathetic to the NDP. Maybe Mr. Thompson has finally thought through the potential for economic devastation under an NDP government.

On May 5, as we walk into the polling booth, the citizens of Alberta should thank God that we live in Alberta and, like Travel Alberta’s excellent commercials remind us: “Remember to Breathe.” And then we should take another deep breath and: Remember to Think!


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41 replies on “Socialism Remembered”

I am a dyed in the wool Conservative. I grew up in Manitoba through the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s. Except for a stint in Saskatchewan from 00-06, I have lived in Alberta. What this article proclaims is oh so very true. What this article does not state is that the PC’s of Alberta have become wealth and power addicts. It does not state that the Provincial cupboards are bare, with no Heritage Fund, no Trust Fund, no nothing. The article does not tell us that after various National and Provincial Leaders attended to the Bildiberg meetings that they helped send our good Province of Alberta into recession, deficit and debt. There is no statement about the Alberta Progressive Conservative Government is like a meth addict in need of an intervention so that we an all recover and get healthy from the disease of this PC scourge. Jim Prentice was right that we should look in the mirror to see who is responsible for where we are at, as it were (fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me over and over, I am a fool). It is a woeful day that we must clear the house, for a minimum of two terms, to find health and strength and pride in our once great Province of Alberta. Let’s have an intervention!

The article does say, that we’ve had far more than enough of the PCs. It just wasn’t the focus because I see the PCs heading towards the exit, and the NDP as an existential threat.
** Alberta doesn’t need a debating champion, nor do we need another four years of week after week of revelations of PC sleaze and corruption and mismanagement and arrogance.

It seems to me that the NDP Rae government took over from the Peterson Liberals and not the Conservatives. Also I firmly believe that both our economy and the U.S. economy started a nose dive ever since the FREE TRADE Agreement between Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico in the 70’s. Our manufacturing has all but disappeared thanks to the “Bullshit Baffles Brains” tactic used by President Reagan and none other than Brian Mulroney, a conservative no less.

You think that trade is a bad thing? Read history. Throughout human history, traders have prospered. If yo want a stark lesson on the results of a closed economy, go to Argentina and study their history for the last 100 years.

Joe Schmo , how do you like Trump so far , Reagan still look like an asshole? Maybe your opinion of Mulroney and free trade will change . Don’t matter to me but maybe you could think of a better idea . Also while you are thinking watch what you wish for it may come true. Just sayin.

Without oil, where would Alberta sit economically? I’d bet not much further than Saskatchewan. But even with the luxury of a vast energy source, the Heritage Trust Fund (created by Peter Lougheed, arguably the one PC leader with any real vision for Alberta’s future), has been squandered. Compare Norway’s huge oil fund of over $905 billion to Alberta’s paltry $16 +billion. This happened because the Conservative decided to spend it, in addition to collecting a much lower rate in the first place. Alberta, despite a higher economic output averages approximately $53,000 total income per person to Norway’s $58,000 per person.

The piece/link below states: …• Norway taxes to the max and makes no apologies about it. Taxation on oil profits is currently close to 80 per cent. One former energy minister even chewed out his bureaucrats in full view of enraged oil executives when they threatened to pull out of the country after taxes were raised. Noting that NONE had actually walked away, he told his underlings “we should have taken more!””
Because of this BOLD, SOCIALIST move, Norwegians today reap massive benefits from the profits of their oil resource.

If you feel that the (foreign owned) oil industry should be entitled to even more wealth than Alberta citizens – continue to support the PC party. The citizens end up paying more for infrastructure in taxes – that the oil companies AREN’T – because of timid Conservative policy.

Then the oil must still be there, and how to exploit it for the Canadian People of Saskatchewan, not Harper’s Corporate Helpers is the responsibility of the government . . .

The problem was that for 60 years, Saskatchewan saw their young people leave. The oil definitely is still there and should be exploited under clear and logical rules. Anyone who breaks the rules should be dealt with severely. I see no problem in kicking a company out of a province altogether if the breach is serious enough. Of course, “we the people” need to be more diligent in doing the same with governments.

Also do you have any idea what the average living cost is in Norway. I was on a trip over in that area with some friends. It’s on average triple what it is over here. That sure doesn’t make that extra $5000 in wage increase go very far. Plus we have way more available jobs. It’s very difficult to find a good job in most socialist economies.

Paying young people and immigrants a living wage of $15 per hour will pervent them from entering the work force? Please explain…..

I hired dozens of people, including a lot of high school kids. If I’d have had to pay an inexperienced person more than they were worth, I would have looked harder for someone with more experience, or I will forget about expanding my business. Training inexperienced employees is almost always very expensive, and occasionally catastrophically so.
How many young people have you hired?

You maybe right, but Alberta politics needs a good house cleaning!!! There has been to many opportunities lost to their present smugness and confusion. Land use policies, health care and education. They have ignored major infrastructure upgrading for years. They Allowed AHS to become a power unto themselves and then unsuccessfully tried to reign them in. AHS is at odds with AMA over physician funding and private clinics. This is not promoting free enterprise. The ultimate smugness was appointing Ministers before they were elected MLAs. The budget, clearly did not cater to the welfare of ordinary Albertans. From the ashes rose the Phoenix. Albertans need a fresh start. I say good bad or indifferent we need a change of government.

Ah, Causation and correlation, I believe these do not match though. During which that time the oil and gas industry took off in Alberta causing a major shift in the Canadian economy, people moved to Alberta from far and wide because of all the new jobs the oil industry created. People are moving back to Saskatchewan because the oil and gas industry is starting to falter and slow. In 100 years people aren’t going to care what political party people chose for, at what time. They ate going to care that the legacy we build and the provincial strength we create, and our current PC party isn’t doing anything to help this cause that didn’t benifit their corrupt bank statements. For example our PC party currently is telling non-PC voters that their location to vote has moved to a location that they are not elligable to vote in. Our PC government is also handing out millions in corporate tax grants, that could be used to help our devastatingly underfunded school systems.

To my Alberta family and friends. Voter beware. You owe it to yourself to read IWUZ historic summary review before casting your ballet tomorrow. I concur with his findings, as I was a witness to the results of the 1972 NDP takeover in B C political history.

very interesting and somewhat scary but your information is a bit off. It was actually Liberal government in Saskatchewan until the early 60’s I believe but yes the NDO re to be feared and hopefully returned to the third party where they can cause less harm. I sincerely hope that they never obtain governmental backing anywhere in Canada.

I didn’t say that the NDP ruled uninterrupted during that entire time. But they did take power in 1944, and by nationalizing everything in sight, set their future economic trajectory. From 1944 until 2007 they held power for 47 of the 63 years.

I grew up in Saskatchewan on a farm and now live in Alberta. I am constantly amazed at the shortsighted view of people in this province. Since I have been here I have experienced boom and bust. I have never seen anything close to that in Sask. It is really sad to see my neighbours putting their houses for sale and taking money out of savings ( if they have any at all) in a province that is supposed to be so wealthy. Why is everyone here so scared of change. We will be stronger to diversify both politically and economically. I feel like people are tired of putting all our eggs in one basket.

My experience in Saskatchewan was that it was boom and bust, albeit at a much lower level. I’d like to see an NDP or Wildrose minority government for a few years, with the PCs relegated to history. The main thing is that we need to do a reset on government.

I have witnessed so many people, including myself, loosing their jobs and homes because the employers had to cut back or close down under the NDP government anti growth and anti big company support.
I’m saying, voters beware cause I don’t think the results of voting NDP will be pleasurable.

If the NDP win a majority thee PC’s are going to owe Albertan’s an apology. For a group of people to have that much power and control for that long and generate as much anger as they have to make Albertan’s turn on the conservative ideologies is the height of abuse.

There is no question that so-called conservative governments behave stupidly in order to buy votes. But the fact is that Alberta and Saskatchewan from 1945 to 2007 show two completely different trajectories. Alberta was ruled by somewhat free enterprise governments; Saskatchewan was ruled by the NDP for 47 of the 63 years.

Socialist governments make concessions to the reality of the free market; conservative governments try to compete for votes by promising things they can’t, and should never attempt to deliver.

I’d like to see, just once, a government that consistently practiced free-market principles; guided by common sense, uncomplicated, and rigidly enforced regulations. I expect we would agree 100% on the need to eliminate crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

Just once, I’d like to see a government that encouraged its citizens – to the greatest extent possible – to look after each other or at least stay out of their way. More of what happened spontaneously in High River right after the 2013 flood, and before the government came in and took over the show.

I would agree with this statement. It would indeed be interesting if all subsidies from government were taken off the table, and all costs of business were borne by the business itself (e.g. reclamation, cleaning up pollution, etc). There is a very interesting book called The Ecology Of Commerce that makes a strong argument that pure capitalism (with all costs included) would indeed lead to a more sustainable future, but that future likely does not look like what many on the political right would like to see.

Let’s not forget Grant Devine’s legacy in Saskatchewan, too. What did you do with the SGI “surplus” money that he doled out to the citizens? What about the bilingual software fiasco? What about the corruption of his MLAs? What about the deficit he left behind after 9 years that Romanow had to clean up? Thankfully, the Saskatchewan electorate voted their conscience and that they continue to be merciless with incompetent governments.

So will we start to see infrastructure projects going only to Union represented companies as it used to be under the SK NDP ?

Like David LeCompte, I bailed on BC a year or two after The NDP takeover in 1972 and found myself in Alberta. Finally an education that meant something: interaction with people that took pride in a day’s work rather than a day’s politics. Here was a life that was worthwhile to live through personal and public ups and downs. I learned about earned satisfaction in accomplishment rather than bogus egalitarian, one-size-fits-all ‘self-esteem.’ Now here come the collectivist lawyers to run things here, too. Armchair revolutionaries with a fear of guns. Che would be disgusted.
Back in the days of my grandparents, we generally sent the town fool to the provincial or federal legislature where he/she wouldn’t get in the way of real working folk and business people. Seems at some point we screwed up and gave the silly sod real power. Time to take it back, gang. The LDIO philosophy has now become critical and needs to be encapsulated in solid and workable principles accessible to all. Gotta keep Rachel’s monkeys away from the bananas…

I suppose you had not heard the current story about the Alberta Government not collecting 13 billion dollars in various royalties in their last 8 or 9 years in power. That is just about the size of the decficit that is being blamed on the NDP. I believe there are more things that will be uncovered in the near future that will make it a bit clearer what went on behind closed doors! My point is that because of the favourable stories that were put forward by the various media resources that supported the PC’s, and the very critical coverage recieved by the NDP, people have not been getting the REAL story!

Dear Jim
I’m afraid that hell will be colder than Inuvik before you hear me apologize either for the PCs ethics or their competence. I must say however, that this quote regarding this issue hardly makes the case that Alberta should follow the example of other countries. “Alberta, for example, takes from 25 to 40 per cent of profit, equivalent to 10 per cent of gross revenue. In contrast, Venezuela, which also extracts heavy oil, takes 40 per cent of gross revenue — four times as much as Alberta.” Venezuela??
My problem with the NDP is, that while they haven’t had sufficient time to become as corrupt as the PCs – although their cozy relationship with the unions is certainly discomfiting – I get the impression that they are every bit as arrogant. Which in my experience is pretty normal for a committed nanny-statist. If my basic worldview is that all animals are equal but that some animals are more equal than others – that would of course be me – then it’s a little difficult to come across as humble.

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