04.09.2015 08:18 AM

Jim Prentice is in third place

So says one poll, here.

So here’s what I say about why that may be so. From my speech to Alberta Liberals, this weekend, and the Hill Times, next week:

“[Prentice’s budget] is a barf bag of incoherence. It raises taxes and user fees, and it slashes government services – all at the same time. It tries to appease fiscal conservatives and fiscal spendthrifts, but has only succeeded in enraging both. It is the legislative equivalent of sucking and blowing simultaneously. And Albertans do not – do not – like it.”

Amazing things are happening in Alberta, this Spring. Pay attention. 

17 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Prentice took a real hit when he welcomed Danielle Smith into caucus. He has been dancing to the tune of the raucous caucus ever since and I think it was the ruination of his premiership. No I’m not shedding any tears for Jim. That being said I heard that Dave Taylor former Liberal MLA and former Liberal leadership hopeful (re)turned radio talk show host in Calgary made mincemeat out of Prentice on the first day of the campaign. Of course if Taylor had won the leadership I would likely be voting Liberal but since the Liberal party wants Dr Strange and his 1960s rhetoric for leader I’ll look somewhere else.

  2. Priyesh says:

    Sadly, raising taxes while cutting spending should be the moderate compromise.

    The problem is that they’re conservatives. And the conservative altar of ideological purity demands spending cuts with lower taxes. Budgets that never balance, but promise they will one day if we just subtract the health care money and give it to the oil companies.

  3. gyor says:

    I thinks its not so much the tax raise, as the fact that the corporations got a free pass, plus the realization that the right pissed away the oil boom revenue and didn’t diversify the economy enough.

    Hence a poll that has the NDP in first place in Alberta and second poll with the NDP in 2nd place (but with a statistical 3 way tie). In Alberta!

  4. Matt says:

    Isn’t the Liberal government in Quebec also cutting spending and raising taxes/service fees?

    And we all know what the Liberal government in Ontario is doing – tax and spend, tax and spend.

    As for Alberta, how much is Danielle Smith kicking herself right now? Had she stayed where she was, kept the dipshits in the WR in line, she would probably be moving into the Premier’s office in May.

    • Mattt says:

      Which taxes have the Ontario Liberals raised? I’m not denying that they have raised taxes, I just can’t remember which taxes, if any.

      As for Danielle Smith, I don’t see how Wildrose would have let her lead in another election after throwing away the election that everyone said was hers to win.

  5. hatrock says:

    Warren, you nailed it once again.

    Prentice is trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, like we forgot the frivolous expense claims of his predecessor and her cabinet. Most of all, when oil prices were rather high, the PCs still managed to rack up deficits, but quietly blaming it on a mismanaged infrastructure deficit caused by the same governing party! Besides Newfoundland and Labrador, no other provincial gov’t spends as much per capita as Alberta does. Meanwhile, big oil continues to sit in the PCAA backpocket while the AUPE sits in the other, hence why no corporate tax increases or any real spending cuts were made, leaving an empty pocket for the middle class because voter turnout is low.

    Prentice duped Smith and her ilk. And this budget has done the same to average Albertans.

    This time, however, while he pulls the pool, Albertans appear to see he’s really just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    And while the Liberals and Alberta Party continue to split their own base, there has never been a better time for the NDP to make a jump up in seats, even so far as holding a balance of power in a minority. Many conservatives have held their breath and jumped back to the Wildrose and there may be more depending on Jean’s ability to lead and campaign.

  6. Derek Pearce says:

    On another subject, what do you make of the thing where Soudas ordered McKay to take that military flight from NL to that CPC function and then leaked it to the press? That’s some deliciously heinous management style to read about. I know the wider public doesn’t care but us political junkies are going to get more sweet treats than I thought from this trial…

  7. Paul says:

    Great piece, Warren.

    Prentice had the opportunity to change things when he arrived. He owed nothing to the PC party structure, and he carried no baggage with voters. Remember, he rescued the PCs from oblivion last fall, and he had no connection to the Redford regime.

    He could have introduced a sales tax. And he could have crafted a better royalty regime. Yes, these are the two third rails in Alberta politics, but given that most Albertans agree with him about the problems we have with aligning our budget and revenue situation to the oil price roller coaster, most Albertans would have understood why these changes were a must. No one likes getting taxed more, but Prentice was in a unique position to sell it and get it done, in a fiscal environment that all but demanded it be done.

    Instead, he told us the sky was falling for weeks and weeks, blamed Albertans for enjoying amazing government services without paying for them, introduced a budget that penalized everyone but corporations, and launched a campaign that’s attacked the opposition for failing to explain how to get us out of the $7 billion mess his government owns.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Paul, if you are in Alberta you must be in either Edmonton or Fort McMurray.

      The rest of the province in no shape or form would ever accept a provincial sales tax. There is no way your neighbours would agree with your opinion.

      The Conservatives would have gone into oblivion if they pulled a stunt like that.

      • MgS says:

        If Prentice had introduced a sales tax as part of an overall package of correcting the Alberta Government’s taxation scheme – from stem to stern – Albertans could swallow that.

        However, the first thing Prentice did was take rebalancing taxation, including corporate taxation and royalties, off the table.

        At that point, any reformation of the taxation in AB turns into downloading the burden entirely onto middle and working class taxpayers, and _THAT_ would spark a revolt. As it is, the taxation in the form of user fees, hidden taxes etc. that were done in the budget still downloaded the burden onto middle and working class Albertans.

        Had our PC governments (post Lougheed) continued to funnel the majority of royalty revenues into the Heritage Savings Trust Fund as was originally intended, the current price war over oil wouldn’t even be an issue. Instead, our governments kept giving the oil patch players more and more tax breaks and royalty “holidays” which just meant that monies which should have end up in government coffers landed in corporate coffers instead.

        • MississaugaPeter says:

          I agree with everything you wrote but “Albertans could swallow that.”

          Like I said to Paul, it also applies to you: “if you are in Alberta you must be in either Edmonton or Fort McMurray. The rest of the province in no shape or form would ever accept a provincial sales tax. There is no way your neighbours would agree with your opinion.” No sales tax is a sacred cow in Alberta. It is as Albertan as Chinooks (which I miss along with the no PST, in this perpetual, eastern +5 C to – 5 C hell winter).

          • MgS says:

            News flash for you – I’m in YYC. I’m also a bit of a sh*t disturber politically – I don’t have a lot of use for the “sacred cow” nonsense either – never have. Albertans need to grow up and quit acting like they’re special on this front.

            I maintain that as part of an overall package of tax reform that addresses the breadth and depth of the cock-up that taxes in Alberta have become since Klein took over, that Albertans wouldn’t be completely hostile. The most recent downturn seems to have shaken some assumptions pretty hard, because I’ve heard more than a few people calling for broad tax reform, and not in the simplistic “a flat tax is great” line of thinking either.

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Yup.

    Everyone knows that most of the CPC was in a man-woman love relationship before the grand betrayal. What I want to know is whether Harper will forbid them from working on the provincial campaigns so that none of them will be seen putting the knife to Prentice’s campaign.

    Paging Ernie Eaves?!

  9. e.a.f. says:

    Having an election in Alberta may help the federal Cons because the other parties will be spending money now in alberta they had planned on spending on the federal election. it could simply be a case of winning a federal election by exhaustion for the Cons.

    • e.a.f. says:

      it isn’t necessarily the “financial ties”, but people who donate federally to one party may well donate provincially to the same party. also when it comes to volunteers, if they are tired out from a provincial elections, they may not work the federal election

  10. MississaugaPeter says:

    Increasing everyone’s burden towards the deficit except businesses doesn’t sit well even with the biggest rednecks (not saying all the rednecks are in Alberta, because I have run across many out here in Ontario).

    The flat tax also is a pile of crap Warren. My son who just graduated (U. of A.) and made $55K last year (didn’t work all year) in Alberta is working for a multinational so they taxed him as if he was still in Ontario. As a result, because he is filing in Alberta, he is owing $K’s. I think if the average Albertan realized that $55K in Alberta is taxed more heavily than $55K in Ontario, they would take a secondlook at their own system. Unfortunately, the average salary in Alberta is probably a lot higher, so it may (I have not done the calculations) be less afterall in Alberta than Ontario.

  11. socks clinton says:

    Forget this story. The names of Ezra Levant and another Parliamentary Press Gallery reporter show up in the Mike Duffy trial for accepting cheques from Senator.

    http://canadalandshow.com/article/duffy-senator-paid-journalists

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