During the early to mid-1960s, I was a fan of the TV series The Twilight Zone. The show was hosted by Rod Serling and introduced North American society to the weird world of science fiction. The Twilight Zone told stories about ordinary men and women suddenly finding themselves in unexpected, bizarre or terrifying situations. I hadn’t thought about the show for ages – that is, until recently when I got to thinking about how Alberta is feeling more and more like an episode of The Twilight Zone these days.
Think about it. It wasn’t so long ago that former Premier Ralph Klein eliminated the provincial debt; the oilsands were strong and proud; and Alberta was a top destination for job-seekers the world over who wanted to build a better life for themselves and their families, and share in the Alberta Advantage.
But then, unexpectedly, the ideological NDP party formed power. Bizarrely, they imposed a litany of risky policies and experiments during a time of economic recession. And terrifyingly, they refused to do any proper economic impact studies or assessments to monitor the consequences of their risky plans.
They’ve imposed a 50 per cent minimum wage hike, harming small businesses and workers; they’ve increased personal and business taxes, and brought in a new carbon tax that they didn’t campaign on – the largest tax increase in Alberta history; they’ve grown the size of the most bloated and expensive government in Canada; now they’re overhauling Alberta’s education curriculum, threatening to impose an ideological NDP worldview in our classrooms.
The consequences have been severe.
In just one year, Alberta has lost 80,000 good jobs. We’ve also experienced four major credit downgrades from all the major credit-rating agencies, meaning we’ll be paying hundreds of millions more to service our record debt and deficit.
While the economy is facing tough economic forces due to low oil prices, the NDP’s policies are making an already bad situation much, much worse for families and businesses.
Perhaps there is no better example of the NDP’s negative impact on our province than a recent news report about energy companies opening drilling rigs in Saskatchewan, Ontario, B.C., and Manitoba, but not Alberta because recent policies changes here are “discouraging investors.”
I never thought I’d see the day when Ontario would be a more attractive investment climate for energy companies than Alberta, but this is the strange new world we live in under the NDP.
Honest, hardworking Alberta families can barely recognize their province anymore.
The Twilight Zone was terrifying at times, but we watched it with the comfort of knowing that, at the end of the day, it was just a TV show, and once it was over, we would go back to our normal lives.
Unfortunately, this is not a TV show. The effects of the NDP’s ideological policies are far too real for thousands of families, and Albertans are looking forward to changing the channel on this episode of NDP government in 2019.
Pat Stier is the MLA for Livingstone - Macleod and the Wildrose Shadow Municipal Affairs Minister