Why is Pamela Wallin back in the news? Why isn’t she in jail, exonerated, or broke from retribution for her wily ways as a Senator? Is it just for a journalistic feeding frenzy to prey on every legal uptick in proceedings for years ad nauseam? If there was an audit done to her expense receipt claims as Senator, would not these findings be easily corroborated with her schedule and matched to her business travel dates? Could not these revelations be compared directly to conflict and ethics rules established by parliamentary procedure? Could not this all be done already so that we the people and Pamel Wallin could get on with our lives? How is it that only on this date of March 31st, 2015 that the RCMP can be still “alleging” when she was turfed from office some fifteen months ago? Apparently, the wheels of justice move slow and I’m afraid this is more evidence it moves at a pace favouring the billing files of lawyers and the pocketbooks of Canadian taxpayers responsible for the salaries of our RCMP.
She seems like a nice lady with intelligence. So how in the world did she make the boneheaded move of crossing the floor in the Alberta legislature thereby alienating her constituents and further harming the only credible right of centre alternative to the PC dynasty in Alberta? Now she’s lost the PC riding nomination, naturally. Why would anyone trust her political instincts going forward if she couldn’t be trusted with ones vote? I chalk it up to political machinations, a self centred aspiration, and an abysmal failure in gauging public perception. We the people are sick and tired of witnessing deceit by the people who have put their names forward to act on our behalf in constructing laws, spending our tax money, and administering impactful civil matters. Should we send all candidates for public office first to the school of Common Sense 101.
Do you remember Premier Stelmach’s old O&G royalty framework that had the well intentioned effect of harnessing more oil royalty revenue for the province’s treasury? Well, the Calgary old boys club took fast Eddie aside and had him dismantle it. Combine this with some sweetheart deals for public servants and brutal management of the public purse and you get our current budgetary quagmire. Rocket science it’s not. Particular interest groups were well served while average non-resource and non-governmental sector citizens stepped up and paid and paid and paid primarily for a health care system that represents approximately forty-five per cent of the pie. We are not simpletons Mr Prentice. We Albertans understand that the top marginal rate in Alberta for combined federal and provincial income tax is 39 per cent and of the federal component we pay, there are transfers back to the province in the amount of $ 5,477,000 (2015-2016) to assist with the operation of our health and social systems.
Had they increased income taxes for those earning less than $100,000, there would have been major political fall-out. On this count, they get it right today. Frankly, I’m surprised that the percentage increase wasn’t higher. In regards to sin taxes, certainly the hospitality industry may feel an affect (bigger cover charge coming at the Boudoir Rouge?) somewhat but in the context of the magnitude of the problem, a thumbs up to this measure and one more nudge toward those in search of healthier living. To the speeders and violators of traffic rules, we look forward to more of your money but I ask, what about the “distracted drivers”. Certainly we could have hit them with a four-fold increased fine.
I have no problem with an increase in user fees in the context of our problem. If you are going to take your monster truck into crown lands and expunge our province’s natural beauty, then we can get you to pay for reclamation. A nerve struck somewhere for certain? No reclamation bond yet but camper’s fees on the rise at provincial parks.
As for the gas tax, Albertans deserve an increase. I don’t know how many driver-only occupied luxury loaded four by fours I see bearing down on my bumper nowhere near rush hour in Calgary. Once they find and opening and scream by, I see their bull balls dangling from the chassis and wonder why they’re taking their toy downtown. Make ‘em pay.
Although not a simpleton, the ego and brazen ruggedness of the cowboy prevented him from entertaining a sales tax for fear of being chastised by the brother from B.C.
Regularly I’m amused by premises drawn by economists, bankers, and politicians when they reflect upon what they think is good for you. The latest report is “job quality”. It’s been surmised that if you are “self-employed” then your job is of lesser quality than those who work for someone else. As you are well aware, the only metric available to bankers is “money”. Bankers do not have access to your lifestyle, your commute, your convenient access to family, your sense of liberty, your relationships in the market, nor your satisfaction derived from productivity when unshackled from the confines of an often times oppressive corporate culture because you may be self-employed. It would be great if banks spent more time with their analyses of business risk for the self-employed when evaluating credit applications as opposed to pontificating the socio-economics of work.