The expenses of cabinet and MLAs will surely be under a tight leash by a man that rationalized why MP expenses shouldn't be audited (which isn't exactly what the Auditor general thinks) alongside everyone's favorite failed politician Michael Ignatieff.
Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, a senior member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, had this to say about why Fraser shouldn’t get access to MPs’ books:Yep, this is the guy that is going to put to rest Albertan's anger over improper expenses by their
“There are a set of rules and the expenses are scrutinized through the Board of Internal Economy,” Prentice said. “We have a system that has been working.”
Asked whether there’s a double standard for members of Parliament, Prentice explained politicians’ spending is thoroughly inspected by staff who review the expenses, as well as the MPs on the committee.
But, it's not all bad Albertans! Prentice, who was previously the federal government's "environment" (read: oilsands) minister will likely feel much more relaxed at the head of Canada's major oil producing province that is home to the major industries that lobbied him, as well as doing away with that pesky word "environment" in his public title which more often than not confuses environmentalists into believing that's the public official they should be talking to. Now as the head of a government that declared not too long ago that "opening new markets" is job #1 for them on behalf of the only industry they care about he can continue the status-quo and ensure that the government's foot remains "off the break" when it comes to unfettered growth and subsidization of the industry and it's dependencies. Jim Prentice will push for and enact existing policy - of the sort the "debt free" Albertans love - in the form of new additional debt to build the required infrastructure to support the new additional population being imported from all over the world needed to support the oilsands which the revenue from oilsands in over 30 years just isn't enough cover.
But Albertans shouldn't worry about an ever-growing mountain of debt to support an industry with tighter and tighter margins whose current level of bankrolling is really only possible due to record low interest rates and even then is just barely profitable as Prentice isn't just a public (/private partnership) "servant" but also a banker. Fresh out of his top-level job at CIBC presiding over an easy currency bonanza to prop up the housing and other asset bubbles caused collectively by the central bank "emergency measures" politicians and market movers have come to rely on Albertans can be confident that Prentice is a true believer in the practice of printing wealth out of thin air which can be seen in his confidence that 10, 15, 20 years down the road the debt Alberta takes on today at historically low interest rates will still be affordable and that the government and central banks under-reported version of inflation won't interfere with his pie in the sky forecasts of productivity and oil price.
Meanwhile as Albertans watch their cost of living rising dramatically, and producers watch their costs of production rising rapidly, CEO Prentice and pals were busy defending the calculated and deliberate wage stagnation caused by the temporary foreign worker program that is being used to work around the high rates of inflation the government and industry aren't reporting. Instead of costs going up, quality, quantity, and wages are going down or stagnating.
It's no wonder that Prentice is such a strong defender of the TFW program, being both a banker who has a vested interest in keeping people believing that "they're richer than they think" and an oil friendly politician rolled by his banker buds demanding returns from an industry where a stable oil price is causing their investments to evaporate. TFWs are nothing more than an elaborate, cheap, and classically feudalist subsidy gifted to industry to work around inflation that's putting ever greater demand on higher wages. Of course costs will always show up somewhere, such as in the safety of Canada's "ethical" industries.
It's actually to the point now where McDonalds is calling on Albertans to protest in favor of continued and ever greater wage stagnation so that they can continue buying cheap hamburgers, because you know, inflation is so low right?
So congratulations, Albertans, on more of the same.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.
Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.