The days of appointing anti oilsands activists to key advisory positions is over. Real science and sanity have returned to that Western province.
By Lorne Gunter of Sun News Media
UNDOING THE NDP’S BLUNDERS
Don’t expect the UCP to follow through with the previous government’s high-minded theories
One big change Albertans will notice almost immediately under a United Conservative government is that their economic experts really will be experts at what makes oil flow and businesses grow. They will not be the NDP’S airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky theorists who call themselves experts but have never drilled a well, transported a barrel of oil, run an electrical grid or made a payroll.
If we could say with scientific certainty what creates jobs and economic prosperity – what is the right level of taxation, regulation and government intervention – then there would be no more recessions or unemployment.
What doesn’t work
But while it is impossible to say for sure what exactly works economically, it is very easy to point to what doesn’t.
High-minded theories such as “sustainable development” and “social licence” don’t work. Neither does a combination of high taxes and even higher deficit spending that let’s government “stimulate” growth by growing larger.
When the NDP came to power in 2015, they brought with them boatloads of “experts” who turned out instead to be textbook theoreticians whose good-onpaper plans ran Alberta’s real-world economy into the ground.
Change No. 1 that Albertans will witness from Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP will not be some fancy new plan based on untried concepts. Rather, the most immediate transformation will be a change in tone and attitude that encourages a return of investors.
For instance, people who understand the energy business will once again design energy policy. What a novel concept!
The UCP won’t let people from lefty think-tanks with grad degrees in environmental studies devise the shutdown of the coalpower industry on the theory it will be easy to replace the lost power and jobs with solar, wind and bug burps.
Kenney and his transition team have been working since before Christmas on a speedy repeal of the carbon tax, a lowering of the NDP’S sky-high minimum wage for teenage workers who aren’t supporting families, a gradual reduction of corporate taxes, an elimination of one-third of growth-choking red tape and, of course, winning approval to build pipelines.
But you know all that. Those were all well-publicized planks in the UCP campaign platform.
Less well-known is all the work the UCP has already done to get ready from Day One to implement its platform practically and rapidly; to figure out the what’s and how’s of getting their policies in place.
If anything was worse than NDP policies, it was their lack of understanding of how to get things done.
Take for instance the impact of the Notley government’s climate leadership plan on PPAS, the power purchase agreements the provincial electrical marketing agency had had with huge companies since 2000.
The NDP’S “experts” designed this really swell theoretical scheme to reduce emissions by increasing taxes and costs for large-scale industrial users, such as utilities. However, the NDP and its consultants failed to understand this raised price would give larges-cale industrial power consumers the legal authority to cancel purchase agreements rather than keeping them with the new, high-priced electricity.
This stuck the marketing agency (known as the Balancing Pool) with billions of dollars worth of power, the cost of which was required by Alberta law to pass on to consumers. So rather than make consumers (who are also voters) pay nearly $3 billion in higher power bills, the NDP “loaned” that amount of taxpayers’ money to the Balancing Pool so the colossal error made by NDP experts wouldn’t become a huge political issue.
Welcome to the real world
There just won’t be that kind of we-know-better, ideological bumbling under the UCP. The NDP’S “experts” suffered from a delusional mixture of arrogance (a belief they could see things every previous government had been too dumb to grasp) coupled with a lack of understanding of how the real world works.
The UCP will listen again to real experts.
A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers. Friedrich August von Hayek