Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Hail Mary on the Opening Drive

Whenever the federal Liberals get desperate, they always drop the A-bomb. In Alberta, the equivalent is trying to blame a party that hasn't held power since World War I for the NEP. As I said on Monday, I fully expected Stelmach to roll out the "Liberals boogah boogah" arguments once he got desperate...I just didn't expect that that would be on day 2. Eek!


Yesterday, when Premier Ed, already stumbling through his performance, is faced with the pitch down the middle of the plate he swings wildly, hauling out the tried-and-true monster, the go-to ghoul, the federal National Energy Program of 28 years ago and Ed links this NEP to past Tory cuts, failing to mention massive Tory buffoonery.

"I lived through the 22% interest rates and part of that was the Liberal government that dumped the NEP on this province," he says. Whatever.

The rest is a ramble but the Coles Notes version is change, real change, change, change, change, change, change, plan, plan, change, change, change, change, change, change.


Good God, 100 years from now, Albertans are going to be telling their children to eat their vegetables or the NEP will come and kill them in their sleep. Or, at the very least, the PCs will be troting it out to try and win them a 36th consecutive term.

Oh, and for my Ontario readers, tired of Alberta news and looking for something closer to home, here's some local news for you ;-)


UPDATE: Joel Kom, at the Herald site, puts it better than I could:

If you asked your kid, “Did you steal a cookie from a cookie jar?” and the answer you got was “Jimmy took two before I did,” or, “That depends on what your definition of ‘cookie’ is,” you’d go crazy.

It only took until the second day of the campaign — really, the campaign’s first full day — to bring a similar answer.

[...]

You got a question on your health care track record and platform, and your answer was to blame a program by a federal government that is now almost three decades old.

The fact that government was Liberal is somehow supposed to reflect on Taft — even though it was almost 30 years ago and an entirely different level of government altogether.

It’s the equivalent of: “I was there when we didn’t have any cookies because the Saskatoon Cookie Monster brought in the great chocolate chip shortage of ‘73.”

Stelmach’s evasiveness, on the second day of the campaign no less, not only does a disservice to voters across Alberta but to himself. By the time you finish reading his response, you start to wonder why he doesn't want to simply answer the question head-on. Does he really understand the state of health care?

I'm sure voters aren’t sitting in the emergency room or the clinic for three hours (or more) and thinking: “That darn federal program from the 1980s is responsible for this.”

Any politician should expect to get questioned on his or her track record. Stelmach’s non-answer is, at the least, thoroughly disappointing to any voter wanting to hear him discuss the performances of his government and others he has served in.

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16 Comments:

  • "je me souviens" has worked in Quebec for over two centuries.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 10:47 AM  

  • Good God, 100 years from now, Albertans are going to be telling their children to eat their vegetables or the NEP will come and kill them in their sleep.

    That happened to a kid I knew back in 1987. It was awful.

    By Blogger WJM, at 10:50 AM  

  • And well, "why should I sell your wheat" has worked pretty well against the federal Liberals on the Prairies for 30 years.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 10:50 AM  

  • Carbon credits won't kill their children in their sleep, but it might place their children in a decrepit one room apartment in a bad neighborhood instead of a nice two bedroom bungalow.

    Lefist policies ARE scary.

    And Albertans know it.

    I'm also thinking that flippant remarks from a liberal about legitimate fears derived from devastating leftist policies tend to INCREASE that fear, rather than alleviate it.

    By Anonymous chuck, at 11:10 AM  

  • A Ralph Klein rant (Youtube) on the NEP, rebutted with actual facts

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:33 AM  

  • "I lived through the 22% interest rates and part of that was the Liberal government that dumped the NEP on this province," he says. Whatever.

    Whatever?

    20 years later, and my blood boils at the thought of Liberals ruining Alberta and the NEP.
    Losing a family business and 2/3 of your farm does that to you.

    How do Ontarians feel about Bob Rae?

    By Blogger wilson, at 11:52 AM  

  • //A Ralph Klein rant (Youtube) on the NEP, rebutted with actual facts//

    Just another ignorant central Canadian b^$&^#d.

    Oil and gas prices also collapsed in the nineties, and Alberta eliminated the deficit, and began the current boom.

    The NEP magnified the effect of declining oil and gas prices in the early eighties. Families were destroyed. People lost their homes. Gerard Kennedy left university to start Canada's first food bank to help the devastated in Edmonton.

    Ask Gerard Kennedy if the hardship from the NEP was not real.

    Laurence Decore, the Liberal mayor of Edmonton, began the fiscal conservative restoration in Edmonton, that eventually spread to the Alberta provincial government, and onwards to Ottawa.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 12:03 PM  

  • Well, if Ontarians hated Bob Rae, they shouldn't be taking it out on Jack Layton.

    I don't want to get into a lengthy NEP argument for the upteenth time. Even if you buy the argument that the oil industry would have flourished in Alberta had there been no NEP while the price of oil crashed worldwide, it was almost 30 years ago and a completely different party. If you have a beef with Sifton or Rutherford, then fine, vote Stelmach. But these guys had nothing to do with it.

    And, you have to agree it's weird for Ed to bring it up when he's talking about HEALTH CARE.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:04 PM  

  • "Whenever the federal Liberals get desperate, they always drop the A-bomb."

    That's the understatement of the year (so far).

    Last election, the federal Liberals warned of marshall law, increased global warfare, back-alley abortions, a Republican-controlled Canada (and some beer and popcorn to top it all off) if the Tories won the last election.

    I can only wait in anticipation for their next election ads.

    By Anonymous mike514, at 12:16 PM  

  • //Even if you buy the argument that the oil industry would have flourished in Alberta had there been no NEP while the price of oil crashed worldwide,//

    Alberta's economy did not crash during the mid-nineties when oil prices collapsed again, like it did during the eighties with the NEP. Nobody is saying it would have flourished in the eighties. The NEP took a bad situation, and made it multiple times worse than it had to be.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 12:17 PM  

  • Just another ignorant central Canadian b^$&^#d.

    Wheat, I'm probably a bit older than you, graduating engineering in 1982, and I can tell you that there was no shortage of O&G companies recruiting across Canada then.

    In fact I was hired by one, and worked in Calgary and Edmonton. There was no shortage of investment opportunities and projects until the sudden drop in world prices in 1986, when everything came to a standstill.

    Had you been unfortunate to have been offered a job in Central Canada in 1982 in manufacturing etc. you would have been out of luck (many job offers were rescinded) as there was a worldwide recession, some claim the worst since the depresion.

    Western Canada was affected more than others, due to its lack of diversity, something that had changed by the 90's after many O&G companies had shedded thousands of employees,and Alberta's economy had diversified much more than the early 80's (although with the recent oil sands boom it is regressing). You are comparing apples with oranges.

    It's convenient politically to blame all of it on the NEP, but not true. I was there, then. Just as Ralph was.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:28 PM  

  • //It's convenient politically to blame all of it on the NEP, but not true. I was there, then. Just as Ralph was.//

    If you examine my posts, I was not blaming it all on the NEP, but on those ignorant fools who are still NEP deniers, who claim there was nothing wrong with the NEP, who deny that Alberta experienced real hardship.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 12:43 PM  

  • If you examine my posts, I was not blaming it all on the NEP, but on those ignorant fools who are still NEP deniers, who claim there was nothing wrong with the NEP, who deny that Alberta experienced real hardship.

    I think you need to keep in mind that after the run-up in oil prices to 1980, many O&G companies were extrapolating the curve predicting $100 oil a few years off (in 1980's dollars, not 2008).I know as I had completed some of these evaluations myself using the corporate price forecasts. This led to overhiring and overinvestment.

    Also, many provisions of the NEP did not come into effect until world prices hit a certain level, and when the world oil price dropped (gradually after 1980 and then precipitously in 1986) it had no significant effect on investment decisions.

    There are two separate issues - the NEP, and the hardships in AB due to a collapsing world oil price, and worldwide recession. Both happened, but not a strong correlation between cause and effect.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 PM  

  • So then we come to my initial point.

    Invoking the NEP in Alberta is the equivalent of "je me souviens", which has worked in Quebec for over two centuries.

    It is an archetype of central Canadian ignorance, callousness, narcissism, and disinterest.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 1:08 PM  

  • It is an archetype of central Canadian ignorance, callousness, narcissism, and disinterest.

    I'm not sure I can make that claim, as the idea originated with the Republican Nixon/Ford administration.

    US Oil Price Controls - Bad Policy?

    The rapid increase in crude prices from 1973 to 1981 would have been much less were it not for United States energy policy during the post Embargo period. The US imposed price controls on domestically produced oil in an attempt to lessen the impact of the 1973-74 price increase. The obvious result of the price controls was that U.S. consumers of crude oil paid about 50 percent more for imports than domestic production and U.S producers received less than world market price. In effect, the domestic petroleum industry was subsidizing the U.s. consumer.


    http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM  

  • I'm not sure why the provincial Liberal party should be let off the hook just because they are merely a puppet organization, and not an official affiliate, of the party that enacted the NEP.

    (Or, for that matter, why they should be let off the hook for supporting the original NEP, and/or proposing a new one)

    By Blogger Feynman and Coulter's Love Child, at 7:00 PM  

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