Thursday, October 15, 2020

Rock Bottom

I was happy in 2015 when the NDP won the election. Being 31 years old it was the first time in my entire lifetime I had seen a different government elected into office in the province. I had long grown tired of the constant pandering to the oil industry at the expense of everyone else. "Finally", I thought, "some of the people that had been crushed under Alberta's runaway economy will get some attention".

Deep down though I was pretty worried. I've long been of the mind that Alberta has a gambling addiction in fact here is a bit I wrote from such a post back in 2012:

Faced with deficit, Alberta Premier banks on rebounding oil prices

What gets a gambler hooked? Is it a constant wave of losses? or that one big win? Most addicted to gambling will probably tell you that it's the one big win which makes you believe another big win is around the corner. People then chase this big win until they are bankrupt.

Revenue at this point will never be rebounding, and Alberta is going to chase the big win they seek all the way down the drain.
Sound familiar? Remember this was 2012, 3 years before the dreaded NDP "ruined" the province.

I was worried because while in 2015 Alberta was well on it's way to Rock Bottom we hadn't quite reached it yet. For those who don't know rock bottom is when an addict reaches such a low point in their life due to their addiction the reality of the situation finally kicks in and a reversal can potentially begin.

Having lived in Alberta for my entire life I was all too aware of the tendency towards revisionist history embedded deeply in Alberta's culture to it's core. The idea, for instance, that it was in fact because of Alberta's conservative mindset that it became so prosperous while the reality is that it was the amount of black gold under the soil that kept Alberta rich in spite of it's conservative mindset. When you consider the amount of wealth Alberta had and blew without any thought or management for the future it's really astounding that the myth of Alberta conservatives financial expertise persists.

No Alberta had not yet reached rock bottom. The anger was palpable at the time but still just a fraction of where it really should have been given the complete financial disaster the PCAA had turned Alberta into despite having all the resources and time to prepare a provincial government could ever hope for. But it was enough to elect a change in government. It was enough for Albertans to say that enough was enough, but not enough for Albertans to remember that fact.

The inevitable problem I saw coming on the horizon was that the situation the NDP was taking over effectively tied their hands. There was little they'd be able to solve and I wrote a post prior to their election warning of this fact.

The NDP never had a hope in hell of "fixing" the province, of saving the oil jobs, of doing anything they are criticized for doing. All of these events were already in motion before they even had any idea they'd become popular enough to govern in 2015. Thus, what would happen after their term was pretty obvious: they would be blamed for Alberta's situation when in fact it was the PCAA that set the stage for Alberta's inevitable decline.

The NDP saved Alberta from reaching rock bottom, and as a result Alberta didn't kick the addiction. Instead we found new scapegoats in the NDP, and in the federal government (despite the Harper conservatives ruling for a decade prior) as to why our gambling addiction wasn't working out for us, as addicts often do.

We've gone right back to our old ways Alberta, rock bottom is assured.

Day after day I see more and more Albertans realizing we are heading there. As I wrote in my last post the stark reality is slowly dawning. The AFL is kicking their opposition up a notch and there may be a general strike on the horizon again according to Gil McGowen in an interview on the Forgotten Corner Podcast. It's becoming more and more obvious to more and more people that the UCP is not here to govern.
But will it be enough?

I am sad to report that the UCP's pivot in their messaging has taken some of the wind out of 'operation fuckwad UCP', the WEXIT faction is not turning out to be as useful as I was hoping and their leadership's moves continue to bleed credibility. The UCP has turned away from WEXIT which has angered their supporters as I had been anticipating but this does not appear to have been able to move the UCP MLAs as much as I had hoped. Phase 2 continues, it's the coldest sun I could find.

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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 CenturyLink

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.

1 comment:

  1. 55 years voting ndp in alberta here and ...yep
    that about sums it up
    that visual could do with some photoshop tho
    a starving ethiopianesque sow
    and two of the piglets could be labeled stevey and ben harper
    one on the economic committee
    and the other a junior advisor to the pork-miestier (while attending american university and est. at 100K )
    my local press (claresholm) has pro oil propaganda from the kenny government (top of page 2) that just makes outrageous claims and cherry picks the math....a nice blurry read if you can't do math. everthings great just trust us and move on