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Thread: Out of control government spending - $50b

  1. #1

    Default Out of control government spending - $50b

    It started under the PC's and its accelerating under the NDP.

    I realize Alberta has grown, but how on earth has government spending gone from $15b to 50b in 10 years?:

    The latest figures show that the province will spend more than $50 billion in 2015-16, the result of the NDP reversing both cuts and revenue increases planned by ex-premier Jim Prentice last spring.

    Rather casually, the NDP will shatter the $40-billion spending threshold — first definitively crossed during the Stelmach-Redford handoff, only three years ago.

    The $50-billion total seems even more numbing when you recall that a decade ago, Alberta was spending only $15 billion annually.

    Taxes were going down back then. Treasurer Stockwell Day declared: “Deficits are gone forever.”
    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-co...-with-the-bill

    The NDP has ruled out a sales tax, and our royalties are already higher than Sasketchewan and BC:

    http://business.financialpost.com/ne...-fiscal-update

    So, like it or not, don't be surprised to see either:

    1. The deficits / spending balloon even more (just deferring the issue for future generations / making it worse), or
    2. A large tax hike on the middle class (because taxes have already been hiked on corporations / high earners).

    The alternative is to start cutting spending, but the NDP has done the opposite of that.

    Ugly stuff.

  2. #2
    highlander
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    ^I'm pretty sure it's not true.
    He's off by a decade, budgets were in the $15b range in the mid 90s, not the mid 00's

    1992-1993: $16.8B
    1996-1997: $13.8B
    2004-2005: $24B
    2005-2006: $26B

    add 46% population growth since 1996 and 44% inflation and even that immediate post-slashing budget would be $29B.

    That's not to say that governments have been responsible, but in this case neither is the National Post.

  3. #3
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    King Ralph cut so many programs that he dug a big hole that is difficult to climb out of. Turns out when you defer basic spending you don't save money, you just cost the next generation even more.

  4. #4

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    "Out of control spending " "Accelerating under the NDP" !?!? Accelerating? I think that's bull ****.

    Explain how that is so? They just took power so the vast majority of the spending related items they are facing now are a legacy of the prior party's policies.


    Also, this apparent change in attitude towards controlling expenses is just the same old, same old, "manic depressive" swinging of the emotional pendulum that we've been through before. When oil prices are high everyone spends, spends, spends and uses every excuse in the books not to prepare for the next - inevitable - downturn. Oil prices dip, everyone calls for cutbacks and the austerity drives us further into the hole, we cut, cut, cut ,and fail to invest for the future. Then when things improve everyone jumps on the next bandwagon, accusing the government of not spending in the recession when costs are cheap to prepare for the future.

  5. #5
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    ^ Same reason the typical average joe investor squanders their savings by buying high and selling low. Driven by greed and fear instead of rational thought.

    If we were smart we would save in booms and spend in busts.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ Same reason the typical average joe investor squanders their savings by buying high and selling low. Driven by greed and fear instead of rational thought.

    If we were smart we would save in booms and spend in busts.
    Seems that bumper sticker designers have a superior intellect compared to the the average person and far superior to the average leader (business and political) over the past decade:


    "Please God let there be another Oil Boom I promise not to P i s s it all away next time."






    Read this (link below). The PCs had a second chance. Note all the groups that by 2007 were pleading for more spending restraint and saving for the future. This is actually a pretty amazing article! Read it all.

    NOTE: It's inconceivable that the Herald would then have gone on to back the PCs in the last election!*




    1980s: Please God let there be another Oil Boom I promis not to **** it all away next time. TODAY: Are we throwing it away again?
    BY THE CALGARY HERALD JULY 21, 2007



    "
    ...
    Meanwhile, the Parkland Institute, a left-leaning think-tank based at the University of Alberta, recommended in a recent report the province spend only 10 per cent of annual oil and gas revenues. Half of the cash should be invested in the Heritage Fund and the remainder should go into a new Renewable Energies Fund, it suggests.

    "Considering how much oil and gas revenues have come in, it's amazing we haven't saved more," says report author Diana Gibson.

    "The big years are already behind us and we've hardly put anything away."

    During the past five years as commodity prices have smashed through records, provincial spending has ballooned more than 60 per cent, topping a projected $33 billion this year.

    And in the past decade, expenditures have soared about 120 per cent. The health budget has led the way, almost tripling in the past decade to $12 billion this year.

    "There was almost reckless spending," says former premier Don Getty.

    "The budgets just climbed unbelievably, so much more than we were spending (in the late 1980s and early 1990s)."

    A shining example of foolhardy spending, he believes, was the former Klein government's decision two years ago to cough up $1.3 billion on what was dubbed "Ralphbucks" -- $400 prosperity bonus cheques paid to nearly every Albertan.

    Like Getty, groups such as the Parkland Institute and Canada West Foundation are urging the province to earmark larger chunks of the resource royalty pie to savings accounts, such as the Heritage Fund.

    ..."



    http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/...8-372a4b0a4774



    And for those that want go blame it on health care and aging boomers - well, you can go back to the late 1960s and find discussions about the inevitable rise of costs for pensions and health care due to the boomer demographics. Now that those costs are predictably rising, only an utter fool would appear shocked at the results. The country and the people have literally had decades to prepare for the inevitable! We knowingly made this bed and must now sleep in it.



    *
    Editorial: Our choice: Prentice deserves another mandate
    CALGARY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD
    More from Calgary Herald Editorial Board
    Published on: May 2, 2015
    http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/edi...nother-mandate
    Last edited by KC; 01-09-2015 at 10:33 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    "Out of control spending " "Accelerating under the NDP" !?!? Accelerating? I think that's bull ****.

    Explain how that is so? They just took power so the vast majority of the spending related items they are facing now are a legacy of the prior party's policies.
    By reversing the cuts the PC's had announced, they have accelrated spending. They also reversed the health levy (something I didn't like), which has reduced revenues versus if the PC's had stayed in. Not to say the PC's had things under control, but the NDP don't seem to either.

  8. #8
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    How about you give them more than 3 months to show what they're capable of? The PC's had what, 42 years to screw things up before them.

    And as I've said before, Prentice was right. Albertans really should look in the mirror. Because our provinces spending and revenue policies are a direct reflection of what the populace asked for, seeing as it continually re-elected the PCs time after time. Trying to pass the buck to the NDP so early in their mandate is ludicrous.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    "Out of control spending " "Accelerating under the NDP" !?!? Accelerating? I think that's bull ****.

    Explain how that is so? They just took power so the vast majority of the spending related items they are facing now are a legacy of the prior party's policies.
    By reversing the cuts the PC's had announced, they have accelrated spending. They also reversed the health levy (something I didn't like), which has reduced revenues versus if the PC's had stayed in. Not to say the PC's had things under control, but the NDP don't seem to either.
    Nice try but that sounds like rightwing propaganda to me.

    Maintaining spending ( or maintaining an increasing rate of spending isn't a case of the NDP "accelerating spending".

    Anyway, if oil prices stay low, we're basically screwed. It will be each man for himself going forward no matter who's in power.
    Last edited by KC; 01-09-2015 at 02:35 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    How about you give them more than 3 months to show what they're capable of?
    So what are they going to do, announce spending cuts? Or tax increases? I'm not saying NDP caused this (although they did roll back Prentice's cuts, which would have helped keep the deficit down), I'm just saying we have a problem and it needs to be addressed, because each year it goes on, is just another year that the interest accumulates to eat into future budgets. Back in the day, Klein addressed it, and put us into surplus, even though oil prices were horrible back then. Since then, its been all downhill spending wise, IMO. When you are in debt personally, it's not the smartest thing to spend more than you earn, like it or not, that's what our government is doing right now.
    Last edited by moahunter; 01-09-2015 at 05:04 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    How about you give them more than 3 months to show what they're capable of?
    So what are they going to do, announce spending cuts? Or tax increases? I'm not saying NDP caused this (although they did roll back Prentice's cuts, which would have helped keep the deficit down), I'm just saying we have a problem and it needs to be addressed, because each year it goes on, is just another year that the interest accumulates to eat into future budgets. Back in the day, Klein addressed it, and put us into surplus, even though oil prices were horrible back then. Since then, its been all downhill spending wise, IMO. When you are in debt personally, it's not the smartest thing to spend more than you earn, like it or not, that's what our government is doing right now.
    Klein addressed it - a decade after the initial oil price decline. A decade after the PCs spent heavily trying to diversify the economy, put royalties into the general revenue fund, etc.

    As for debt, individual people with limited means (single source of income, etc.) shouldn't borrow when things are down, but government isn't like individual people. Ideally government should borrow when it's smart to borrow. That's when opportunity arrises, when it's cheap to borrow, when spending borrowed funds will create positive returns, etc. Govt can also borrow to sustain the economy, protect desirable industries and services, reduce hardship, etc. in other words, the rules that apply to an individual don't apply to government.

  12. #12

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    Ideologues who cannot submit to a normal taxation system are beyond the pale if they complain about uncontrolled government spending.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ Same reason the typical average joe investor squanders their savings by buying high and selling low. Driven by greed and fear instead of rational thought.

    If we were smart we would save in booms and spend in busts.
    Seems that bumper sticker designers have a superior intellect compared to the the average person and far superior to the average leader (business and political) over the past decade:


    "Please God let there be another Oil Boom I promise not to P i s s it all away next time."






    Read this (link below). The PCs had a second chance. Note all the groups that by 2007 were pleading for more spending restraint and saving for the future. This is actually a pretty amazing article! Read it all.

    NOTE: It's inconceivable that the Herald would then have gone on to back the PCs in the last election!*




    1980s: Please God let there be another Oil Boom I promis not to **** it all away next time. TODAY: Are we throwing it away again?
    BY THE CALGARY HERALD JULY 21, 2007



    "
    ...
    Meanwhile, the Parkland Institute, a left-leaning think-tank based at the University of Alberta, recommended in a recent report the province spend only 10 per cent of annual oil and gas revenues. Half of the cash should be invested in the Heritage Fund and the remainder should go into a new Renewable Energies Fund, it suggests.

    "Considering how much oil and gas revenues have come in, it's amazing we haven't saved more," says report author Diana Gibson.

    "The big years are already behind us and we've hardly put anything away."

    During the past five years as commodity prices have smashed through records, provincial spending has ballooned more than 60 per cent, topping a projected $33 billion this year.

    And in the past decade, expenditures have soared about 120 per cent. The health budget has led the way, almost tripling in the past decade to $12 billion this year.

    "There was almost reckless spending," says former premier Don Getty.

    "The budgets just climbed unbelievably, so much more than we were spending (in the late 1980s and early 1990s)."

    A shining example of foolhardy spending, he believes, was the former Klein government's decision two years ago to cough up $1.3 billion on what was dubbed "Ralphbucks" -- $400 prosperity bonus cheques paid to nearly every Albertan.

    Like Getty, groups such as the Parkland Institute and Canada West Foundation are urging the province to earmark larger chunks of the resource royalty pie to savings accounts, such as the Heritage Fund.

    ..."



    http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/...8-372a4b0a4774



    And for those that want go blame it on health care and aging boomers - well, you can go back to the late 1960s and find discussions about the inevitable rise of costs for pensions and health care due to the boomer demographics. Now that those costs are predictably rising, only an utter fool would appear shocked at the results. The country and the people have literally had decades to prepare for the inevitable! We knowingly made this bed and must now sleep in it.



    *
    Editorial: Our choice: Prentice deserves another mandate
    CALGARY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD
    More from Calgary Herald Editorial Board
    Published on: May 2, 2015
    http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/edi...nother-mandate

    However, some of us who are now sleeping in that bed were merely born into it, and must now be punished for the previous generations mistakes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    How about you give them more than 3 months to show what they're capable of?
    So what are they going to do, announce spending cuts? Or tax increases? I'm not saying NDP caused this (although they did roll back Prentice's cuts, which would have helped keep the deficit down), I'm just saying we have a problem and it needs to be addressed, because each year it goes on, is just another year that the interest accumulates to eat into future budgets. Back in the day, Klein addressed it, and put us into surplus, even though oil prices were horrible back then. Since then, its been all downhill spending wise, IMO. When you are in debt personally, it's not the smartest thing to spend more than you earn, like it or not, that's what our government is doing right now.
    Klein balanced the budget when oil prices were low, you are correct. BUT gas prices were $12-15 unlike todays $2-3 range...a monkey could have balanced the budget with the royalties made off gas, without the huge infrastructure deficits he gave Alberta.

  15. #15

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    They need to start making tough choices when it comes to health care. They need to stop pandering to rural areas. Not every area needs their own low-volume, sparsely attended hospital. They need to be more efficient with the dollars they have.

  16. #16
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    ^ Agree that health care reform should be our primary goal. Health care is our number 1 spending driver and under the current system it will only increase.

    We need to reform care system to team-based community clinics. Current system of pseudo-private piecemeal billing physician offices is inefficient, expensive, and delivers inferior care.

    The Americans didn't get the billing aspect right, but a few of their health providers have developed the best, most efficient care in the world. We should copy models like Kaiser Permanente. Transition all primary care to team-based clinics where physicians work alongside nurses, therapists, and some specialists in a seamless collaborative environment. Get rid of piecemeal system and replace with salaried docs. Mandate all offices use fully E-health and E-prescribe integrated electronic medical records (we were getting there, then they backed off).

    Then at the same time, we need to start investing in prevention. This means money for transit, bike lanes, pedestrian infrastructure, etc. Fund recreation programs so all children have access to health care, push through a serious health plan in the school system where all students have to not just move, but actually exercise an hour a day. Increase taxes on sin-goods like liquor, cigarettes, and sugary junk food to account for the full cost on society they represent. Use income directly to subsidize health products, gym memberships, recreation programs etc.
    Last edited by Jaerdo; 02-09-2015 at 06:58 AM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ Agree that health care reform should be our primary goal. Health care is our number 1 spending driver and under the current system it will only increase.

    We need to reform care system to team-based community clinics. Current system of pseudo-private piecemeal billing physician offices is inefficient, expensive, and delivers inferior care.

    The Americans didn't get the billing aspect right, but a few of their health providers have developed the best, most efficient care in the world. We should copy models like Kaiser Permanente. Transition all primary care to team-based clinics where physicians work alongside nurses, therapists, and some specialists in a seamless collaborative environment. Get rid of piecemeal system and replace with salaried docs. Mandate all offices use fully E-health and E-prescribe integrated electronic medical records (we were getting there, then they backed off).

    Then at the same time, we need to start investing in prevention. This means money for transit, bike lanes, pedestrian infrastructure, etc. Fund recreation programs so all children have access to health care, push through a serious health plan in the school system where all students have to not just move, but actually exercise an hour a day. Increase taxes on sin-goods like liquor, cigarettes, and sugary junk food to account for the full cost on society they represent. Use income directly to subsidize health products, gym memberships, recreation programs etc.
    Depending on the perspective there's 'successful' models all over the world.

    As for subsidies, there are already substantial expenditures promoting fitness. So there are limits to such efficacy.

    I think companies could play a big role by cutting the workday hours to both increase employment, increase their labour force flexibility, and free up time among employees to get out and get fit.

    Lastly I suspect a lot of our health care costs relate to chronic conditions and chronic users, often living in rural communities.
    Last edited by KC; 02-09-2015 at 08:52 AM.

  18. #18
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    ^ Team based care clinics are the cornerstone of every highly effective healthcare system that I am aware of. All the research also points to a transition to team-based primary care as the most effective way of controlling costs, delivering chronic disease management, and improving health indicators.

    The reason why we haven't done it yet? Physicians associations don't like the idea of losing power. This is not a tightly held secret in Alberta.

  19. #19

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    Maybe. I know little about the different approaches.


    Here's something that may indicate where to aim the subsidies...

    High-Cost Users of Ontario's Healthcare Services

    "Approximately 1.5% of Ontario's population, represented by the top 5% highest cost-incurring users of Ontario's hospital and home care services, account for 61% of hospital and home care costs. Similar studies from other jurisdictions also show that a relatively small number of people use a high proportion of health system resources. Understanding these high-cost users (HCUs) can inform local healthcare planners in their efforts to improve the quality of care and reduce burden on patients and the healthcare system. To facilitate this understanding, we created a profile of HCUs using demographic and clinical characteristics. The profile provides detailed information on HCUs by care type, geography, age, sex and top clinical conditions."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999548/


    What’s really driving high-cost use of health care - Healthy Debate
    by Laura Rosella, Andrew Pinto & Jeremy Petch MAY 8, 2015

    "...
    Second, all of these interventions target patients who are already high-cost users of the health care system. In other words, interventions like Health Links – and other versions of “wrap around care” – tend to target patients only after they have already become very sick, often with multiple chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and cancer. Once a patient is older and has developed multiple chronic conditions, it may be that a substantial portion of the health care resources they consume are medically necessary, and simply can’t be significantly reduced through better coordinated care or fewer visits to the emergency department. If the central policy goal of concentrating on high-cost users is to save money, then the best approach may not be to focus so exclusively on people who are already high-cost users, but also strive to prevent people from becoming high-cost users in the first place.

    So what, at a fundamental level, is driving high-cost use? In a word, poverty.

    This should be no great revelation – research has shown for some time that there is an association between high-cost use and socio-economic status. Yet this knowledge has not been enough to shape the policy agenda with respect to high-cost users, perhaps in part because solving poverty seems a monolithic problem well beyond the means of a health care system to address.

    But we have begun to learn a great deal more about how the different dimensions of socio-economic status contribute to high-cost use, knowledge that could form the basis for more comprehensive, more effective approaches to reducing high-cost use.

    Research published today in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (full disclosure: we are co-authors on this paper), examines the role of a multitude of social and economic factors in someone’s odds of becoming a high-cost user in the future. These factors include the neighborhood one lives in, ethnicity, home ownership and many others. What we found was the single strongest predictor – even stronger than income – of future high-cost use is someone’s access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food (what public health professionals call food security).
    ..."
    http://healthydebate.ca/opinions/high-cost-users

    Last edited by KC; 02-09-2015 at 09:07 AM.

  20. #20
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    Yes, the high-end users of the health care system are largely a small subset of the population with serious chronic disease issues. Large issue is that chronic diseases are increasing in prevalence.

    The key to reducing costs is effective chronic disease management. Early intervention to stop development of later-life problems, and continual monitoring. Problem is the piecemeal, fragmented health care system is incapable of delivering this. People don't have effective, streamlined access to the care they need, and communication lines are not clear between levels of care. In addition, proper electronic medical and health records are not being kept due to fragmentation and under-utilization, which is preventing early intervention.

    This is one of the largest arguments behind transitioning to team-based care. Interdisciplinary community clinics are highly effective at chronic disease management and early intervention. You eliminate the need for routine, high-cost hospital visits for the majority of patients. In addition, you can transfer a lot of work to non-physician medical practitioners that are currently sidelined. Example: someone with diabetes could just as easily have routine medical visits performed by RNs, who can monitor issues and input metrics to the EMR with cost savings of easily 60% over a piecemeal physician billing. Currently, these people are foregoing regular visits because they are time consuming and difficult to book. Their issues go unmonitored, and build into the necessity for a costly surgery or intensive care visit. Physicians are overworked, and when they do have time they charge a full rate for a brief visit that could be performed by a nurse. Other benefits include the ability to effectively wrap in front-line mental health services in a normalized context, and far higher capacity to track health metrics.
    Last edited by Jaerdo; 02-09-2015 at 09:13 AM.

  21. #21

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    Here's what those "right wing idealouges" (since cutting spending equates with being right wing per many posters), the Liberals, think:

    Liberal Leader David Swann said the NDP should take a look at the 180 agencies, boards and commissions that together spend two-thirds of the province’s budget.

    He urged the government to lower the small business tax to stimulate the economy, provide incentives to bolster green energy technology and energy efficiency, and focus on illness prevention to save millions of health-care dollars.
    http://calgaryherald.com/news/politi...nancial-crisis

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    Ironically I would argue that both the federal and provincial NDP are quickly moving to the right of the liberals. Mulcair's NDP are without a single doubt further right than Trudeau's grits. It remains to be seen how things turn out in Alberta.

  23. #23

    Default Budget crisis pits Edmonton bureaucrats against Calgary private sector

    Another interesting article, this one playing on the Calgary / Edmonton divide:

    There’s also a growing view that the New Democrat’s main mission is to protect the civil service from layoffs. At the same time, Calgarians in droves are losing their private-sector jobs; more than 900 people were laid off in the oilpatch on Tuesday alone, mainly in the city.

    No fair-minded person wants anybody to be laid off in times like this. The NDP certainly doesn’t.

    Only 31 per cent in Edmonton want the government to cut spending to deal with the growing deficit, while 44 per cent of Calgarians are in favour.
    .But the government has exacerbated the issue by saying time and again the civil service is protected, while offering little reassurance and — so far — no policies for the private-sector unemployed.

    Everybody knows the NDP’s base is in Edmonton. We grasp that the bulk of civil servants work there. This power shift was overdue after so many years of rule by Calgary premiers.

    The problem isn’t these obvious facts, but the NDP’s leaden response to some Calgary concerns, from the Snowmageddon funding to the almost daily string of layoff notices.

    Some big things they certainly get right — the Calgary cancer hospital, for one.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-co...private-sector

  24. #24
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    ^ What is the point of that article? To suggest the NDP should dig us deeper into our obscene staple trap by subsidizing private O&G firms to continue employing people? Or to advocate that the NDP cut everything so the rest of the province hurts just as much as them?
    Last edited by Jaerdo; 02-09-2015 at 12:12 PM.

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    ^Be nice to see the NDP open a Oil Company that is a crown corporation head quartered in Edmonton. They would be able to employ some of the recently laid off as well as funnel some of the crown corporations profits into the general revenue for the province.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ What is the point of that article?
    The same point David Swann was making I think, when he spoke about those over 180 government agencies, boards and commissions. Like it or not, if the private sector is hurting (which is the case both in Calgary and Edmonton), its not going to require, or be able to fund, a supersized public sector like we have. The more NDP dither over this, the worse its going to be when the reality hits home.

    ^you do realize those big bad oil and gas companies just earn profits for their shareholders, a reasonable return on their investment, the same returns you get in your pension funds? At the moment, many of them are making losses, why you would want the government to have those losses is beyond me, but through the Heritage fund it is sharing in them already I'm sure.
    Last edited by moahunter; 02-09-2015 at 12:25 PM.

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    Be nice to see the NDP open a Oil Company that is a crown corporation head quartered in Edmonton.
    I think it is too late for that. We could have done it had we continued where Lougheed left off.

    At this point we need to ride out the recession with deficit spending, and get a solid plan for the next boom (which will come as surely as our inability to predict global geopolitics). Next time around we need to tax O&G more, collect more royalties, and heavily invest in emerging sectors like green tech, biomedical, IT, etc.

    The same point David Swann was making I think, when he spoke about those over 100 government boards. Like it or not, if the private sector is hurting (which is the case both in Calgary and Edmonton), its going to require, or be able to fund, a supersized public sector like we have. The more NDP dither over this, the worse its going to be when the reality hits home.
    I maintain that the best option right now is to direct stimulus for growing small businesses and start-ups. Trying to fix O&G is like putting tape on a giant crack in our ship's hull. Does nothing to fix the underlying issue and only marginally delays the inevitable. We need to diversify, and the way to do that is to grow local businesses.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Another interesting article, this one playing on the Calgary / Edmonton divide:

    There’s also a growing view that the New Democrat’s main mission is to protect the civil service from layoffs. At the same time, Calgarians in droves are losing their private-sector jobs; more than 900 people were laid off in the oilpatch on Tuesday alone, mainly in the city.

    No fair-minded person wants anybody to be laid off in times like this. The NDP certainly doesn’t.

    Only 31 per cent in Edmonton want the government to cut spending to deal with the growing deficit, while 44 per cent of Calgarians are in favour.
    .But the government has exacerbated the issue by saying time and again the civil service is protected, while offering little reassurance and — so far — no policies for the private-sector unemployed.

    Everybody knows the NDP’s base is in Edmonton. We grasp that the bulk of civil servants work there. This power shift was overdue after so many years of rule by Calgary premiers.

    The problem isn’t these obvious facts, but the NDP’s leaden response to some Calgary concerns, from the Snowmageddon funding to the almost daily string of layoff notices.

    Some big things they certainly get right — the Calgary cancer hospital, for one.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-co...private-sector
    Well, hasn't the private sector always wanted government out of their way, and pretty much got what they wanted by having a PC government in power for four decades up until a few months ago. So, naturally the private sector would have prepared for tough times, will not expect government handouts, and so should be quite fine with the current status quo which is a legacy of PC rule - or is it that they grew to expect to keep the proceeds of good times and then expected government bailouts and socializing of their losses when times got tough for them? (Playing the devil's advocate here.)
    Last edited by KC; 02-09-2015 at 12:28 PM.

  29. #29

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    ^where does it say in that article the private sector is looking for bail outs? What it is saying, is that it isn't fair that for workers in the private sector being laid off that there is no support from NDP for them, but NDP is guaranteeing things will stay good for workers in the public sector. As there are more public sector workers in Edmonton than Calgary, its not surprising NDP support is higher in Edmonton.
    Last edited by moahunter; 02-09-2015 at 12:29 PM.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    We need to diversify, and the way to do that is to grow local businesses.
    The public sector buracracy isn't going to do that, and higher taxes won't either.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^where does it say in that article the private sector is looking for bail outs? What it is saying, is that it isn't fair that for workers in the private sector being laid off that there is no support from NDP for them, but NDP is guaranteeing things will stay good for workers in the public sector. As there are more public sector workers in Edmonton than Calgary, its not surprising NDP support is higher in Edmonton.
    So we slash jobs in Edmonton and do what with the proceeds? My guess is that the proceeds would reduce the need for borrowing ( unrelated to this issue) but what else?

  32. #32
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    ^where does it say in that article the private sector is looking for bail outs?
    The article heavily implies that the options are bailing out O&G firms or cutting spending in some twisted version of fairness: "If I get hurt, you should get hurt too". Hence:

    — so far — no policies for the private-sector unemployed.
    KC is exactly right. The O&G industry is playing the victim after getting exactly what they wanted. They capitalized on our lax regulatory system and artificially low taxes for decades, siphoning all of our provincial wealth out of the province and country. Now they cry to us about fairness. Crocodile tears through and through.

    The public sector buracracy isn't going to do that, and higher taxes won't either.
    The "public sector bureaucracy" is necessary to create an appealing business environment for small business. Massive austerity is only good for people with extremely deep coffers or large corps that don't rely on the domestic market. Small businesses, which are the core of the economy, need a stable consumer base. They also need a properly built and maintained infrastructure system.

    With regard for taxes, I think we should cut them to 0 for local start-ups, and offer extremely low rates for established small businesses. Additional consumer subsidies for buying local products (ideally micro-generation products to kill two birds with one stone) would be ideal, but probably not possible given garbage deals past leaders signed with the WTO that only let Americans use protectionism.
    Last edited by Jaerdo; 02-09-2015 at 12:35 PM.

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    siphoning all of our provincial wealth out of the province and country.
    You mean, "paying dividends to Canadian pension funds who invest in oil and gas companies (i.e. virtually all of them)", its funny how people whine about the big bad oil and gas companies when they are making profits, but then also expect big fat retirement savings and endless capital investment in our economy (which has created some of the highest salaries in the world in both our private and public sectors). Its called "Suck and Blow".
    Last edited by moahunter; 02-09-2015 at 12:37 PM.

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^where does it say in that article the private sector is looking for bail outs?
    The article heavily implies that the options are bailing out O&G firms or cutting spending in some twisted version of fairness: "If I get hurt, you should get hurt too". Hence:

    — so far — no policies for the private-sector unemployed.
    KC is exactly right. Industry is playing the victim after getting exactly what they wanted. They capitalized on our lax regulatory system and artificially low taxes for decades, siphoning all of our provincial wealth out of the province and country. Now they cry to us about fairness. Crocodile tears through and through.
    However, I was playing the devil's advocate. We have a responsibility to create fairness and somewhat level playing fields across society, despite the ISIS like views of (figuratively speaking) Alberta's capitalists. (ie. Behead govt, eliminate any and all other ideologies, force conversion of non believers...). In tough times everyone needs to share in the hardships, but share intelligently. Companies slashing staff is not intelligent behaviour from a societal perspective. Protect jobs but not pay levels - in both the private and public sectors.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Companies slashing staff is not intelligent behaviour from a societal perspective. Protect jobs but not pay levels - in both the private and public sectors.
    What are you suggesting a company that is struggling to pay its creditors should do then? Instead of laying off staff for capital projects that are no longer going ahead, you want them to reduce everyone's salaries? Good luck telling that to the union, even without a union I doubt that is legal beyond cutting bonuses (which has already happened). These cuts now aren't by choice, they are for survival.

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    siphoning all of our provincial wealth out of the province and country.
    You mean, "paying dividends to Canadian pension funds who invest in oil and gas companies (i.e. virtually all of them)", its funny how people whine about the big bad oil and gas companies when they are making profits, but then also expect big fat retirement savings and endless capital investment in our economy (which has created some of the highest salaries in the world in both our private and public sectors). Its called "Suck and Blow".
    That's a lame argument. It's stealing from Peter to pay Paul ( or in this case stealing from Albertans to pay Canadians, and Americans, and huge private sector portfolios) when the gains are attained through biased decision making.

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Companies slashing staff is not intelligent behaviour from a societal perspective. Protect jobs but not pay levels - in both the private and public sectors.
    What are you suggesting a company that is struggling to pay its creditors should do then? Instead of laying off staff for capital projects that are no longer going ahead, you want them to reduce everyone's salaries? Good luck telling that to the union, even without a union I doubt that is legal beyond cutting bonuses (which has already happened). These cuts now aren't by choice, they are for survival.
    Unions accepted wage rollbacks in the past. And got screwed for doing so, but they may do so again. Also, the government has some power to change legislation to protect jobs and to provide funding to protect jobs. However, some companies are destined to fail and much of the current situation is a result of failed policies by the previous private sector advised government to plan for this very eventuality. Now people are trying to throw mud at the new guys.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    siphoning all of our provincial wealth out of the province and country.
    You mean, "paying dividends to Canadian pension funds who invest in oil and gas companies (i.e. virtually all of them)", its funny how people whine about the big bad oil and gas companies when they are making profits, but then also expect big fat retirement savings and endless capital investment in our economy (which has created some of the highest salaries in the world in both our private and public sectors). Its called "Suck and Blow".
    It is the primary policy consideration of the Government of Alberta to ensure the sustainable prosperity of all Albertans. Our natural resources are publicly owned. The citizens of Alberta are the sole and full owners of all of them, end of story.

    By "siphoning all of our wealth out", I refer to the fact that we have allowed this public wealth to be inefficiently allocated to private coffers, often outside the province and the country, without sufficient reimbursement to ensure our sustainable prosperity.

    We have given away public resources which are in essence equivalent to money at below market value. We did this with the assumption that said resource wealth would "trickle down" and lead to reinvestment, but the reinvestment that occurred was magnitudes smaller than the wealth given, as is the case in all neoliberal models.

  39. #39

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    ^we have one the largest reserves of oil and gas on earth. Nothing has been given away, its still there, there is hundreds of years worth of it. The only issue, is whether or not anyone is going to invest in it anytime soon, when you can invest in other places like BC and Sasketchewan now, and pay less royalty. Pension funds aren't going to stick their money in, if the return isn't reasonable. Whether the Alberta government can go on spending about $12,500 for each and every one of us (50k per annum for a family of four) without that investment, is highly quesitonable.
    Last edited by moahunter; 02-09-2015 at 02:19 PM.

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    ^ That is like saying "I took $500,000 from your retirement savings, but don't worry, you still have some left."

    We HAVE given away huge amounts of our resource wealth at unfair rates below market value. That cannot be argued.

    I don't even want to get started on the absolutely inane "we'll pack up and go to Sask" argument. If they remain profitable in Alberta, they will not go elsewhere. If they can be profitable in Sask, they will open there as well as Alberta. If they decide to move on principle (read: bratty tantrum throwing), they will be replaced by another firm seeking the available profit. No one is suggesting that taxes and royalties should be set so high that profitability is impossible.

    This is basic common sense.

  41. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ That is like saying "I took $500,000 from your retirement savings, but don't worry, you still have some left."

    We HAVE given away huge amounts of our resource wealth.

    I don't even want to get started on the absolutely inane "we'll pack up and go to Sask" argument. If they remain profitable in Alberta, they will not go elsewhere.
    That makes no sense, to keep all those high salaries its not just about maintaining what we have, we have to keep growing as well if we want all those pipefitters and similar employed. Every capital decision is compared against alternatives, that's been the case throughout the history of oil and gas. Look at what happened to Mexico when they nationalized and formed Pemex, overnight they had to cut salaries, and revenues plumeted for the government, despite getting rid of those bad companies who were supposedly stealing all the profits.

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    ^ Mexico is a horrible example due to rampant corruption.

    Better example is Norway. Extremely high O&G taxes. Higher than anywhere else in the world. Yet somehow the firms didn't "pack up and leave" like they threaten to here. So long as they remain profitable, they stay.

    Growth needs to be managed responsibly. Uncontrolled growth results in the Alberta situation: huge infrastructure deficits and nothing to show for the billions upon billions of dollars extracted from our resources that are now in offshore banks.

    We had a leader at one point who wanted to grow responsibly in Peter Lougheed. He advocated responsible, rational, sustainable growth that would benefit the public to the highest degree possible. Unfortunately since that time conservatives have become neoliberals, and fiscal responsibility has gone out the door in exchange for wild-west style resource exploitation without a single thought for the future.

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    Still don't get the prevailing "we got nothin' to show for the resources extracted by the oil companies" on this forum.

    Alberta is the envy of the prairies when it comes to infrastructure. Even after all the money that gets funneled out of here to prop up the rest of the country.

  44. #44

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    ^ it's the lack of (to use a horrible buzz word) "transparency". I don't know if we've undercharged on royalties - or over charged. And contrary to Jaerdo, that can be argued. We've also likely made concessions to create jobs and those jobs create provincial benefits. Those concessions also likely enrich certain individuals and companies to the possible harm of other citizens. Who knows where we stand on things. No one knows.

    If we knew we were charging fair market value for our oil and then could show exactly who, what, where, when, why and how we subsize industry, then we'd have faith that what we're getting and what we're giving is open and understandable to the citizens of Alberta.

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    ^^ We have a huge infrastructure deficit, and it is growing every year. Yes, we have new infrastructure. Unfortunately it is not even coming close to keeping pace with population growth.

    This falls across all sectors: roads, telecoms, rail, water and wastewater, emergency/disaster preparedness, etc. We are falling more and more behind every year.

    A shiny new overpass seems great, but looks a bit worse when you consider that our population growth requires 4 of them.

    ^ It doesn't take a genius to compare what other jurisdictions have done with royalty and tax regimes and deduce that we are getting the short end of the stick. If we had followed and improved upon Lougheed's model we would have half a trillion in the bank instead of zero.

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    Same old ignorant argument over and over again that compares Alberta to sovereign countries. Perhaps if we had an equal share of Federal tax dollars there would be more to show for it here. But thats not the way it works - is it? What happens here benefits the whole country whether we like it or not - That's where the half trillion dollars has gone.

    Prolonged population booms will lead to massive infrastructure deficits no matter where you are.

    Without Oil and Gas this town would be less significant than Regina.

    And why do you list Telecoms and Rail - aren't those private corporations? Or are you pining for the good ol days of AGT and government rail? I think we're doing fine in those areas - unless you mean LRT - but that's more of a municipal level mismanagemt type of thing - just like roads.

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    ^ Same old ignorant inanity of pretending that Alberta can't make responsible policy decisions because we are a province.

    We have every power necessary to institute a responsible royalty structure. Royalties are in the provincial domain. What the federal government does with its taxation structure is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

    You're still missing the point on the infrastructure deficit. If we had a responsible provincial taxation and royalty system, we wouldn't be stuck with one.

    As for telecom and rail, there is a lot of public investment that is necessary in those fields to set up an effective trade infrastructure system. Check out this report by the canada west foundation: http://cwf.ca/publications/Bulding%2...vantagev11.pdf. It is about solving "export bottlenecks", streamlining policy with private investment, and improving communication infrastructure.

  48. #48

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    The booms create rapid development, new infrastructure needs to be met at the highest prices and the worst times. It also loads us up with debt and a population that emigrates when the jobs disappear and thus leave us stranded with debt, incomplete infrastructure, social ills, over capacity, etc.

    The HSTF was capped long ago and the funds fed into the general revenue fund. This softened the rough times but did little to build a great alternate income stream for us to rely on today.

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    Jaerdo, I still think you're missing the point on where the money has gone.

    If the NDP really want to present a royalty plan that will work just as well with $20 oil as it will with $120 oil then why not just have something ready for the same time they release their budget this October? What is there to gain by waiting for 2017? Just prolongs the uncertainty for stakeholders.

  50. #50

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    Spend, spend, spend, more money for Calgary transit (at least it's infrastructure I guess):

    http://www.calgarysun.com/2015/09/04...-from-province

    I guess that's what you do when you lose a by election, no doubt we will see a lot of NDP spending there now:

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/09/0...-ndp-on-notice

    Maybe the NDP should merge with that other big spending party, the PCs, to fight off the WR threat?
    Last edited by moahunter; 04-09-2015 at 12:56 PM.

  51. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Spend, spend, spend, more money for Calgary transit (at least it's infrastructure I guess):

    http://www.calgarysun.com/2015/09/04...-from-province

    I guess that's what you do when you lose a by election, no doubt we will see a lot of NDP spending there now:

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/09/0...-ndp-on-notice

    Maybe the NDP should merge with that other big spending party, the PCs, to fight off the WR threat?
    Well of course, Moa—it's Calgary! What Calgary wants...
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  52. #52

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    Calgary is one of the places where the private sector is slashing a lot of jobs. It might be money well spent to build that infrastructure for the future, increase economic efficiency as well as relieve personal hardship. Spending during an economic bust can be more significant and meaningful than spending during a boom.

  53. #53

    Default 36b of debt by 2020?



    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...debt-1.3514452

    Alberta's debt is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2020, according to government forecasts, but the Fraser Institute says it could hit $36 billion if spending is not reined in.

    It says the debt could grow to $26.8 billion by 2020 if government spending increases in line with population growth and inflation (3.9 per cent annually). Or it could balloon to $31.1 billion if the government hikes spending at the rate the economy is expected to grow (4.7 per cent).

    Given that the finance minister recently said the deficit for 2016/17 could be $5 billion greater than projected in the budget, the paper considers the impact of a one-time revenue loss of $5 billion, taking the debt to more than $36 billion.
    History repeats, if something isn't done to change that arrow direction soon, the next conservative government (PC or Wildrose), will take a slash and burn approach to correct it. The NDP is setting the stage for what will become, and much needed as a result of their poor fiscal policies, Klein mark II policies. I hope the NDP take a very different approach with their next budget, if they don't, its going to result in a lot of pain in a few years time.
    Last edited by moahunter; 31-03-2016 at 12:56 PM.

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    ^ what do you propose?

    Public sector wage rollbacks? How much? 5%? 10%?
    Public sector job slashing? How much ? 20%? 25%?
    The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes then steal your dreams.
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  55. #55

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    ^start by not increasing government operational spending - the last budget increased operational spending, which was totally inexcusable.

    Next step might be reducing government operational spending by attrition (you know, people retire, don't replace them).

    Start moving in the right direction now, and that slashing might not be needed. Present a plan to bring operational spending below revenues, its called a budget. Just saying "we hope oil goes up one day", isn't a budget, because we all know when all oil goes up, spending will go up.

    I want the NDP to tell us in the next budget, how and when we pay off the debt we are currently building up. I'm fine with the long term infrastructure debt, being a long term pay off. I'm not fine though, with our operational debt being a long term pay off, that's not a sustainable fiscal policy, its rather, a recipe for what happened under Klein.
    Last edited by moahunter; 31-03-2016 at 03:22 PM.

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    I don't agree with moahunter's ideas for more knee-jerk reactionary cuts, but I think the solution is long term restructuring of our governmental services to a more fiscally sustainable model.

    Start with the ticking time bomb that is health. It needs to be restructured from the ground up, with a huge shift away from acute care to preventative and public health. We can't keep treating the end result of bad choices with our overpriced, inefficient, fractured web of a health care system.

    Start moving in the right direction now, and that slashing might not be needed. Present a plan to bring operational spending below revenues, its called a budget. Just saying "we hope oil goes up one day", isn't a budget, because we all know when all oil goes up, spending will go up.
    This I completely agree with. I would like to see the introduction of a sales tax on all luxuries to fill the gap right now, then as our economy recovers a drop in income taxes (starting with middle income earners). The NDP were dead to me when they released a fiscal plan that relies on oil income in the long term.

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    I would like to see more patients being treated in their homes by roving nurses and doctors, rather than constructing huge hospitals.
    The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes then steal your dreams.
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    Interesting times...

    We got numerous newly grad nurses and EMT/Paramedics looking for a job in a province governed by Socialists.

    Anyway, bring on the two tier healthcare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^start by not increasing government operational spending - the last budget increased operational spending, which was totally inexcusable.

    Next step might be reducing government operational spending by attrition (you know, people retire, don't replace them).
    Increased operational spending of 4% is still less than the 6% yearly increase the PCs ran for the past decade. Figure about half of that goes just to cover inflation, so it's realistically a ~2% operational increase. Then consider that the provincial population grew 1.7% last year. Throw in a few random expenses like the massively expensive forest fire season we had in 2015, and it's probably coming out at a zero-sum for the general budget.

    As for attrition, to my knowledge, every government ministry already practices that. From my experience of doing contract work for the government in the past, they are usually only able to create a new position (FTE) if they take the funding from an existing, empty FTE. So positions are often not filled when someone retires or quits. Most ministries also have a target of leaving at least 20% of positions unfilled, going-forward.

    I share your concern for debt-financing of operational expenditures. That's a dangerous slippery-slope for government to walk down. And I'm not dismissing the opportunity for operational cost savings. Government is never great at efficiencies. But when ~80% of government spending goes to schools and health care, the budget crunch isn't going to be solved by trimming the budget a couple percentages or cutting some office workers. Alberta's problem is revenue, plain and simple.

  60. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by halocore View Post
    Alberta's problem is revenue, plain and simple.
    I might agree with you if our government spending per capita was as low as other provinces, but its not, only Quebec spends more per person. Fix that first, at least get it down to an average level. If that doesn't get us close to surplus, then other options need to be looked at. As to the "but the PC's spent more so its ok", its not ok, the PC's were completely wasteful post Klein. Imagine if they hadn't listened to all the bozos saying "we have an infrastructure deficit", and instead, had just slowly increased operational spending? We wouldn't be in this hole right now, and we might still have tax rates low enough to attract non oil and gas businesses to expand in Alberta.

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    I agree with Moahunter that we spend too much per capita, but for a different reason. We have to spend that much because we have ineffectively managed growth. Rapid population growth always necessitates higher spending per capita in order to expand programs and services. This is true in all jurisdictions.

    What we should have done, and what we should do now is establish strong, holistic growth management plans. Then we can approve and guide future development in a manner that does not overly strain our public resources.

    Klein in fact was the most wasteful of all of them because of his flat out refusal to engage in any forward thinking. His "shoot from the hip" style of governance led to unmanageable growth. Because of Klein, our government was not prepared to service the massive increase in population we have seen over the last 15 years.

  62. #62

    Default Alberta number one for doctor salaries

    Spending problem? Nah... these doctors must be struggling on 366k per year (more than any other province).

    Alberta doctors have become the best paid in Canada, recording a gross average income of $365,765 last year that edged them ahead of counterparts in Ontario and Saskatchewan, new national statistics show.

    The numbers come from the latest National Physician Database, an annual report complied by the Canadian Institute of Health Information, or CIHI, that tracks physician workforce trends.

    Alberta doctors have typically ranked second or third highest in the database, but the 2014-15 fiscal year marks the first time they have claimed top spot in average gross earnings since the institute began publishing the statistic eight years ago.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/wo...ighest-earners

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    The same can be said of just about every job category and sector of the economy, both public and private. But that has nothing to do with the previous government's inability to properly manage a massive energy boom, does it?

  64. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    The same can be said of just about every job category and sector of the economy, both public and private. But that has nothing to do with the previous government's inability to properly manage a massive energy boom, does it?
    Given getting to the number one spot happened on the NDP's watch, no. The PC's spent too much as well post Klein. As to your theory having people well paid in the private sector is a bad thing, I disagree, families live better, and the economy is stronger. Or is your theory the government can somehow control oil prices? I'm afraid it can't (not without economic disaster for Alberta, like Trudeau mark I / NEP), but it can control its spending. The public sector, if it is to be paid like the private sector, needs to take cuts like the private sector, not take a 3.2% increase in the heat of a recession.
    Last edited by moahunter; 23-08-2016 at 02:01 PM.

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    You and your strawmen. I never said that people being paid well in the private sector is a bad thing (I am after all, a private business owner). You, however, DID say that paying people well in the public sector is a bad thing. The fact is, it's silly to look at the pay of public sector employees compared to the rest of the country in a vacuum. Doctors are paid well in Alberta, just like plumbers and carpenters and engineers and lawyers are. Alberta tops the charts in pretty much every category, private or public. Nowhere in that article does it mention pay disparities across Canada in the private sector, and how that compared to public pay disparities. Which would be useful context.

  66. #66

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    ^you brought up the strawman of "managing a massive oil boom" (whatever that means, which projects did you want government to step in and manage?). Why have doctors suddenly become number 1 paid in the country? That's never been the case before per that article, even during the boom years our doctors weren't the top paid. You don't think its sort of strange it suddenly happens when we go into a recession / elect an NDP government? You don't see a mismatch there?
    Last edited by moahunter; 23-08-2016 at 02:16 PM.

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    Are you intentionally dense? The current agreement for doctor pay was negotiated and agreed to by the PC's. Hence this quote, from your own article, which you apparently did not read:

    In Alberta, the provincial government and the Alberta Medical Association have begun negotiations to rein in the growth of spending on physicians. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has targeted doctor pay as one of three major areas of the health system where the province must “bend the cost curve.”
    And the mention of the oil boom was not a straw man. Apparently you don't even know what that is. You were discussing that about 3 posts up with Jaerdo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Are you intentionally dense?....
    This is a rhetorical question right!

  69. #69

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    I hold zero confidence that the Rob-Ford-in-drag woman health minister can cut any health care costs. Especially with physician salaries. She has already meddled in things like big lab and laundry contracts that will probably ending up costing us more.

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    Yeah, I'm not too impressed with the testing and laundry issues. There are numerous large linen services companies in Edmonton that would be chomping at the bit to competitively bid on that work. There's little or no reason for that to remain in house, especially not if it requires tens of millions of dollars of new equipment capital investment.

  71. #71

    Default Alberta’s NDP won’t ease up on spending no matter how low revenues go

    ^^sooner or later people will realize all our woes are not the fault of people or decisions of years ago, that we all control our own destiny on a go forward basis. Spending like a drunken out of control sailor on day to day living costs when there is no expectation of sufficient revenues until 2024 is beyond reckless, its shameful, and our kids are going to be the ones paying the price in finance costs.

    http://business.financialpost.com/fp...ow-revenues-go
    Last edited by moahunter; 24-08-2016 at 07:45 AM.

  72. #72

    Default Alberta gets a cleaning lesson from Sasketchewan

    NDP government has no respect for our tax dollars, just the union elite who control them:

    If you’re a patient in Saskatchewan, the government’s deal is great news. The near $100 million in savings can be used to hire nurses and doctors or purchase more equipment to provide faster health care.

    As Saskatchewan was first out of the gates with such a great partnership, one would expect the Alberta government to be eager to follow suit. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

    Under the previous Progressive Conservative government in Alberta, health officials sat down to negotiate a deal with K-Bro. However, as noted, Rachel Notley’s government has cancelled the plan. It seems they want no part in saving taxpayers money. To them, it’s more important to have unionized government employees cleaning bed sheets than it is to give everyone, including private businesses, a chance to compete to provide the service.

    The Notley government’s allegiance to powerful government employee unions is not surprising. Readers should know the constitution that governs Alberta’s NDP actually sets aside delegate positions for unions. That means that the elite that run unions have immense power when it comes to selecting NDP leaders and deciding party policy.
    http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/col...m-saskatchewan

  73. #73
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    And this surprises you? I think everyone knows the NDP is all about this.

  74. #74

    Default

    ^true, I heard a joke the other day re a merger between an Alberta and Saskatchewan company, re the possibility of being moved to Saskatoon or Regina. The comment was, "at least you would get a much better Premier if you get relocated". $100m saved for Saskatchewan would have been at least $200m for Alberta per that article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post

    The "public sector bureaucracy" is necessary to create an appealing business environment for small business. Massive austerity is only good for people with extremely deep coffers or large corps that don't rely on the domestic market.
    I agree with you that AHS is the place to start fixing our spending problem but to say public sector employee spending is needed to fuel small business? Why not just keep the money in the pockets of the taxpayers. They will spend it. Nobody is saying lay-off thousands of teachers and nurses. Massive austerity does not work, nobody is saying it does.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^true, I heard a joke the other day re a merger between an Alberta and Saskatchewan company, re the possibility of being moved to Saskatoon or Regina. The comment was, "at least you would get a much better Premier if you get relocated". $100m saved for Saskatchewan would have been at least $200m for Alberta per that article.
    Having four times the population of Sask now it could be even more.

  77. #77

    Default Alberta taxpayers paid $1.47M for vehicles used by cabinet, deputy ministers

    While the Alberta government struggles with a record deficit, taxpayers are still footing the bill to provide vehicles to every member of cabinet and 16 of 26 deputy ministers at a cost of $1.47 million.

    And some critics say it may be time to put the brakes on government-paid vehicles as a perk for so many politicians and officials.

    "I don't think it makes financial sense," said Calgary Elbow MLA and Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark, who drives his own vehicle.

    The government vehicles, mainly SUVs, crossover SUVs and trucks, are assigned from the government fleet.

    The makes used by current deputy ministers include a 2015 Acura RDX, a 2014 Audi A4, a 2016 Toyota HIghlander Hybrid XLE and a 2017 Jeep Cherokee. Several deputy ministers drive Ford F150 pickup trucks.

    The overall tab to provide vehicles to cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, the Speaker, deputy Speaker, the leader of the official opposition, and other officials is $2.8 million. That does not include maintenance costs.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...ters-1.3781414

    Why doesn't the province just do what most companies do, and reimburse mileage when used for government business? I can understand the premier needs something special for security reasons, and maybe the opposition leaders, but not the rest of the gang. Good on the Alberta Party leader for brining this up.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-09-2016 at 12:51 PM.

  78. #78

    Default

    Government appointments and expense accounts. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. A lot of these political hacks should be using their own vehicles. Deputy ministers or any kind of deputy should not have government vehicles. If they feel they must then they should not be SUV's or trucks. Family size vehicles should be what they are issued.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  79. #79

    Default

    ^Isn't it interesting how there are only a handful of hybrids in there, no pure electric vehciles, and lots of SUV's and trucks? I guess the NDP really care about reducing emissions (except when it means they don't get quite as nice a ride personally).

  80. #80
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    Uh, SUV's and trucks are the best selling vehicles in the country, and what most families drive these days.

  81. #81

    Default

    Trucks I can see but not necessarily F150. Trucks are good to get in and out of places that are in remoter areas. I can see them having them on hand to borrow for a day or two. Not for everyday driving thought. Redford was the one who switched the fleet out in favor of SUV's. She must have thought those black SUV's she got driven around in were real sexy and maybe reflected on her. Taken vehicles off those trough dwellers will not go down with out a fight.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  82. #82

    Default

    ^when they need specialty vehicles, they can rent them. There are probably a dozen government workers managing this fleet, sell it (aside from the security ones), layoff the bureaucracy, and get the politicians using rentals or mileage reimbursements. No different from the former Alberta air force, it doesn't make any sense.

  83. #83

    Default

    ^Get them to use their own vehicles with mileage reimbursements. Or in the NDP's so called ' green age ' give them 20 bucks towards their utility bill for their non-existent hybrids.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  84. #84

    Default

    I don't see anything wrong with government vehicles as long as they are practical, like a mid size crossover or sedan. Company vehicles are pretty standard when getting around during work is a requirement for the job, with vehicles like the Dodge Journey and Nissan Rogue type crossovers being very standard fleet options.

    Assuming the cost of a bargain fleet vehicle like a Dodge Journey is $15,000/yr in lease cost, maintenance, fuel, and insurance, $1.47M would net out at 98 vehicles. It says in the article that they got 35 for that, so yeah, they are definitely overpaying, but it's clearly not golden toilet-level overspending. As far as government waste typically goes, I'd almost call this reasonable.

    Edit: OK, read the article further. Fuel and maintenance isn't included in that value, but is covered. I read the list of vehicles they get. Their list of options are pretty luxurious. I wouldn't mind if it was the fleet choices I previously mentioned, but getting Volvo's and Infiniti's are a bit too cushy for my liking.
    Last edited by Chmilz; 28-09-2016 at 04:27 PM.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  85. #85

    Default

    This article says that Notley is going to look into the vehicle situation. It also has a more in depth cost of these vehicles. They seem to be more expensive than we think.


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...leet-1.3782885
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  86. #86

    Default

    ^In fairness they inherited it from the fat cat PC's, hopefully some changes coming.

  87. #87
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    While there might well be some savings to be realized here, we're talking peanuts in the grand scheme of things. This is getting a little old at both the Federal and Provincial level, regardless of who is in power or what party they're affiliated with. The opposition parties know that it's very, very easy to score points on this kind of thing, because it's easy for the public to grasp "GOVERNMENT MINISTERS DRIVING AROUND IN INFINITI LUXURY SUV" or "CIVIL SERVANTS SPEND TENS OF THOUSANDS TO RELOCATE". Meanwhile, it would appear that the NDP have completely botched the electricity PPA agreement issue, and we've hardly heard a peep about that in the news recently. Because that's a really, really complicated topic. Meanwhile, the fleet issue is measured in the millions, and the electrical market issue is billions. Yet the media's and public's attention is focused on the wrong issue entirely.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    While there might well be some savings to be realized here, we're talking peanuts in the grand scheme of things. This is getting a little old at both the Federal and Provincial level, regardless of who is in power or what party they're affiliated with. The opposition parties know that it's very, very easy to score points on this kind of thing, because it's easy for the public to grasp "GOVERNMENT MINISTERS DRIVING AROUND IN INFINITI LUXURY SUV" or "CIVIL SERVANTS SPEND TENS OF THOUSANDS TO RELOCATE". Meanwhile, it would appear that the NDP have completely botched the electricity PPA agreement issue, and we've hardly heard a peep about that in the news recently. Because that's a really, really complicated topic. Meanwhile, the fleet issue is measured in the millions, and the electrical market issue is billions. Yet the media's and public's attention is focused on the wrong issue entirely.
    Industry is essentially frozen with no clear idea what is going on with the PPAs while the Government sues itself (essentially) or the coal power phase out program...Industrial investment Alberta for the oilsands has to be the lowest it's been since the late 90s and now the power producing investments are frozen (though that seems to basically be an artificial industry of phasing out current assets and building new ones due to government policy).
    If the NDP were trying to get a second term in office, I would be pretty surprised if that is in the cards after how this has gone to date and likely how it will go until the end of this term.

  89. #89

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^In fairness they inherited it from the fat cat PC's, hopefully some changes coming.
    So the issue is: is now the time for the government to cut spending and so cut jobs, or to maintain spending and jobs, or to increase spending and so increase jobs?

    We know what the private sector (oil and associated) is doing.

    I wish the government had shown a lot of restraint in the good times to be able to increase spending and increase jobs now for all the "deadwood" being fired in the private sector.

    2 years without a job: Calgary in the downturn

    Severance is gone, EI has run out, and still no job on the horizon
    By Tracy Johnson, CBC News Posted: Sep 20, 2016 7:00 AM MT Last Updated: Sep 24, 2016 8:51 AM MT


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...year-1.3769195
    the reality is about shifting resources. Have them claim mileage. They should also stop feeding people at meetings etc. Everyone should pay their own way even if a meeting goes over lunch. Dump some of the smart phones and other benefits too. Squeeze everything everywhere but realize that any total cuts will ripple into the private sector and squeeze people there too.

    Use the savings to hire unemployed people to do projects that reduce future costs or extend the life of assets.

    Tough Love all around.
    Last edited by KC; 28-09-2016 at 05:13 PM.

  90. #90

    Default

    In most cases that I'm aware of, company issued vehicles is done out of liability. It's very, very likely that a government official will be taking passengers for work purposes, and having the proper insurance in place is critical. If you get a cost effective vehicle, it's not that big of an expense considering it's required. And claiming mileage? You know how easy it is to absolutely milk that system?
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  91. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    While there might well be some savings to be realized here, we're talking peanuts in the grand scheme of things. This is getting a little old at both the Federal and Provincial level, regardless of who is in power or what party they're affiliated with. The opposition parties know that it's very, very easy to score points on this kind of thing, because it's easy for the public to grasp "GOVERNMENT MINISTERS DRIVING AROUND IN INFINITI LUXURY SUV" or "CIVIL SERVANTS SPEND TENS OF THOUSANDS TO RELOCATE". Meanwhile, it would appear that the NDP have completely botched the electricity PPA agreement issue, and we've hardly heard a peep about that in the news recently. Because that's a really, really complicated topic. Meanwhile, the fleet issue is measured in the millions, and the electrical market issue is billions. Yet the media's and public's attention is focused on the wrong issue entirely.
    Or they throw these million dollar stories out to divert our attention from the billion dollar stories. Same when they release bad news stories on a Friday night of a long weekend hoping nobody will notice.
    The public do have a good case for complaining about government excess on all levels. It's taxpayers money that let's them drive around in Infiniti's and Escalades when a much lower end vehicle can do the job. It's taxpayers that pay for their bloated expense accounts where it seems they have to sit in nothing but the best restaurants for their meals and order themselves a fine bottle of wine. They get allowances, perks and pensions all at the cost of Joe public. They are supposed to got into public service to serve, not help themselves. All governments waste billions of dollars in their terms in office, but wasting millions on fancy cars and expenses is just as odious.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    All governments waste billions of dollars in their terms in office, but wasting millions on fancy cars and expenses is just as odious.
    I don't particularly agree. Penny wise but pound foolish, and all that. Yes they should be held to account on perks, travel, and that kind of thing. But again, those costs are measured in the millions and are a tiny fraction of government spending and the overall economy. Issues like climate policy and the electrical generating market are billions upon billions, and don't receive nearly the same scrutiny from the media or public. Our priorities are backwards.

  93. #93

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    All governments waste billions of dollars in their terms in office, but wasting millions on fancy cars and expenses is just as odious.
    I don't particularly agree. Penny wise but pound foolish, and all that. Yes they should be held to account on perks, travel, and that kind of thing. But again, those costs are measured in the millions and are a tiny fraction of government spending and the overall economy. Issues like climate policy and the electrical generating market are billions upon billions, and don't receive nearly the same scrutiny from the media or public. Our priorities are backwards.
    I disagree. Culture starts at the top and it flows down. If your bosses are getting perks you aren't, it demotivates, and encourages you to go out and waste money. If you care about the pennies, then people will care about the millions. If you don't, they likely won't. How can you ask people to cut back / be lean, when you are taking perks all over the place? I have never seen a company that gives all its executives autos to drive (I have in the past seen abuse of corporate jets, which thankfully the province has fixed). That's the culture though of our province re these autos and other perks the PC's were giving themselves and the NDP has carried on, it flows down to expense claims and spending decisions. Its why we are in the deficit hole we are in.
    Last edited by moahunter; 29-09-2016 at 09:59 AM.

  94. #94

    Default

    It's always fun to listen to all levels of government giving the public tips on how to cut back. Or they send pamphlets out telling us to turn down the thermostat at night, wear and extra sweater about the house if it's cold, if it's yellow let it mellow etc. Then you have people living on fixed incomes that have to live such Spartan lives they have no money for extras. Who wants to hear these bureaucrats lecture when people know they are living high on the hog on the public dime. That they think nothing of using their expense accounts to rack up $400 lunch bills at fancy restaurants or use government transportation to ride all over the province. Charging the smallest items to expense accounts makes it look like the cheap b*stard they are. Some of these perks need to be looked at long and hard. To the average person who is struggling to make ends meet their excess just rubs salt in the wound.
    If a person is a self made business person and buys perks for their office, say a 60 inch TV or a $4,000 solid wood desk or a fabulous surround sound that's on their dime as they have earned it. When a politician does it with an expense account it's just sheer greed.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^Isn't it interesting how there are only a handful of hybrids in there, no pure electric vehciles, and lots of SUV's and trucks? I guess the NDP really care about reducing emissions (except when it means they don't get quite as nice a ride personally).
    Isnt it interesting how the PC's were in power for 44 years and no one seemed to care how they abused their power and wasted tax payer dollars...but now that we have a new government, everything is under the microscope.

  96. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by GranaryMan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^Isn't it interesting how there are only a handful of hybrids in there, no pure electric vehciles, and lots of SUV's and trucks? I guess the NDP really care about reducing emissions (except when it means they don't get quite as nice a ride personally).
    Isnt it interesting how the PC's were in power for 44 years and no one seemed to care how they abused their power and wasted tax payer dollars...but now that we have a new government, everything is under the microscope.
    It disagree. I think it's just a return to the '80s and '90s attitudes. I can't think of a provincial example but rember when Bill Smith got his SUV and the controversy over him driving a bigger gas guzzler.

  97. #97
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    KC wrote:

    I can't think of a provincial example but rember when Bill Smith got his SUV and the controversy over him driving a bigger gas guzzler.
    I certainly do remember. As well as Smith's brilliant reply...

    "I think the people of Edmonton want to see their mayor driving around in a big car."

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