Premier Jim Prentice's comment the other day about Albertans looking in a mirror to see who's responsible for the state of the province's finances.
He's right! Almost all Albertans have benefited from programs, facilities, and services paid for, in a good part, by non-renewable resource revenues.
No provincial sales taxes, no medical surcharges, no toll roads, low provincial income tax; mostly just oil revenues. The provincial government has had no meaningful direction from voters to diversify that revenue base.
Diversification of industry would make our province less dependent on those oil revenues. Then, when oil prices tank, the provincial finances wouldn't be in such deep trouble. When was the last time you heard a candidate from any provincial party mention diversification during a campaign, other than just paying it lip-service?
And our provincial government has been spending and spending. What about saving and saving? What happened to building up the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, for those "rainy days"? Peter Lougheed, our fist Conservative Premier, set that up. If regular deposits had been made to the Heritage Trust Fund over the past 40 years, it would be worth billions now!
And who among us gave back those $400 'Ralph Bucks' checks? I look in the mirror and I see someone who spent his Ralph Bucks. Do you?
Now when you and I, and our Premier, are peering into that mirror we're also seeing those responsible for surviving this downturn and fixing it so it won't happen again!