Alberta Politics/Economics



No other province better exemplifies the theological reverence for neoliberalism than Alberta. Its precious nonrenewable resources are being squandered as the provincial government virtually gives them away to energy companies, mainly American, at rock-bottom royalty rates. Taxes for the corporate sector and the wealthiest Albertans are cut. Meanwhile social programs are starved of funding and we are told that Alberta Medicare spending is unsustainable. The Alberta government maintains power by appealing to fundamentalist “family values” while its policies undermine the livelihoods of working families. Regressive labour laws and disregard for environmental degradation are standard policies in the creation of a “business-friendly” climate in the province. Wedded as it is to its “free market” fantasy the provincial government shows no sign of a coherent plan for managing the problems created by uncontrolled development or of limiting tar sands exploitation. The old deficit pretext for downsizing and privatization has vanished, but the provincial government continues its privatization drive with Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) . Alberta politics could be made more democratic by adopting Proportional Representation, allocating seats in the Legislature to reflect the actual percentage of votes cast in our elections. Without this Alberta’s democratic deficit continues unabated.
Conservative premiers come and go but the interests of big business remain supreme. Even if Alison Redford wants to persue a less fanatical economic and social policy she remains trapped in a party dominated by corporate interests, particularly those of the tar sands.
A wide selection of publications dealing with Alberta political and economic issues including energy, royalties, health care, climate change, and water issues may be obtained from the Parkland Institute 11045 Saskatchewan Drive   www.ualberta.ca/parkland   Another excellent source is Public Interest Alberta 3rd Floor, 10512-122 Street   www.pialberta.org


Democracy Derailed: The Breakdown of Government Accountability in Alberta-and How To Get It Back On Track    by Kevin Taft (2007)     Brief survey of the abuses of power that occur in our one-party government.

Shredding the Public Interest: Ralph Klein and 25 Years of One-Party Government    by Kevin Taft (1997)     Lively and readable expose of government cutbacks and corporate welfare in Alberta.

The Return of the Trojan Horse: Alberta and the New World (Dis)order    edited by Trevor W. Harrison (2005)     Series of essays providing comprehensive survey of the effects of neoliberalism on Alberta’s citizens and the myths used to justify it. Very academically oriented.





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