Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics

What Does Prosperity Look Like?

“Aki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner thoughts”, (2006)

Dan Jurac Fine Art Photo of Hoar Frost_DSC2972_

Alberta Morning …

-20 degrees and sunny, drinking strong hot coffee and thinking about what we have thrown away in our desperation to punish past political masters who provoked us with their greed, corruption and fundamental incompetence at the pointy end. Now where were we, where did we come from physically and economically?

Checking the “Way Back Machine” to refresh our memories we find as recently as 2011 Canada was rated #1 as the best place on the planet to do business.

In 1998 we Shire Folk left the most racist, anti-business, highest crime rate in the industrialized world, most corrupt, jurisdiction in Canada (the Northwest Territories) supported by 5 billion dollars a year in Federal Liberal Taxpayer money pumped into the NWT to keep about 60,000 aboriginals and 2 safe Liberal seats in parliament alive and employed, and we settled 1000 miles to the south in Alberta. Back then it looked like God’s country to folks who had spent 15 years living in the Arctic.

(Full Disclosure and Disclaimer) The assertions expressed in the above paragraph are my own alone based on 15 years (1982-1998) of first hand, face to face experience, and observation, in the areas of resource transportation, construction, Department of Justice, Corrections Service (prisons), Headquarters Government service in the Department of Social Services, and as the NWT jurisdictional representative with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics which is a division of Statistics Canada in Ottawa. Other observers may not agree with my assessment or might not see themselves and their activities in that light or may have had a different experience in the NWT but I sincerely believe I can support those assertions with empirical evidence from many diverse independent sources.

OK, back to the story … By 2011, we were self employed, doing reasonably well and living in the #1 business environment and best economy in the world in Alberta, Canada. We had a corrupt but business friendly government in the PC party of Alberta running things here and a Conservative government lead by Stephen Harper (from Calgary,  Alberta) doing an excellent job for the nation  as a whole. A study released by the Toronto Dominion Bank on the world economy rated the “Corridor” between Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta as the most productive stretch of real estate in the world in terms of dollars per capita output.

During that period, according to Forbes:

*****

“During the run-up to every U.S. presidential election, countless Americans threaten to move to Canada if their preferred candidate does not emerge victorious. Of course, few follow through with a move north. Maybe it is time to reconsider.

Canada ranks No. 1 in our annual look at the Best Countries for Business. While the U.S. is paralyzed by fears of a double-dip recession and Europe struggles with sovereign debt issues, Canada’s economy has held up better than most. The $1.6 trillion economy is the ninth biggest in the world and grew 3.1% last year. It is expected to expand 2.4% in 2011, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Canada skirted the banking meltdown that plagued the U.S. and Europe. Banks like Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal avoided bailouts and were profitable during the financial crises that started in 2007. Canadian banks emerged from the tumult among the strongest in the world thanks to their conservative lending practices.

Canada is the only country that ranks in the top 20 in 10 metrics that we considered to determine the Best Countries for Business (we factored in 11 overall). It ranks in the top five for both investor protection as well as lack of red tape, which measures how easy it is to start a business.” 

*****

That was then. How are things now?

For the annual ratings Forbes leans on research and published reports from the Central Intelligence Agency, Freedom House, Heritage Foundation, Property Rights Alliance, Transparency International, the World Bank and World Economic Forum to compile the rankings.

So lets investigate where we went in the last  5 years. Here is what the pundits think about Canada now. Today, under the gentle ministrations of the Notley Socialists in Alberta, and Boy Trudeau’s Liberal socialists in Ottawa  the picture has changed radically and getting worse faster.  One contact recently sent me this from an article he read:

“Article – O’ Leary – ECONOMY MAY LEAD TO TRUDEAU OUSTER

*****

“TORONTO – Our economy is now measured in “dollerettes” and “massive debt” and Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary predicts if it keeps up, the Liberals may start thinking about replacing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “I think there could be a competition for leadership in the Liberal party because tax and spend is a really dumb idea in a country of no growth,” the Shark Tank star told my Newstalk 1010 show, the Late Shift. “I don’t think Justin Trudeau will have a long tenure.”  Canada’s economy is bleeding to death, he said, and the government is sticking in more knives.  “I can’t believe what is happening to my country,” the investor and entrepreneur said from an investment conference in Florida. “It’s going to zero fast. This is malfeasance.”

Just a couple of weeks removed from trial-ballooning the idea of running for the Conservative leadership, he warns Canada is becoming the laughing stock of the business world. Nobody will invest here while governments talk of multibillion-dollar deficit budgets and continue to slap business-killing regulations on growth potential, O’Leary said.

“The world has figured out in the past nine months that (Alberta NDP Premier) Rachel Notley has no idea what she is doing,” he said. “Her government is killing that province. She is totally clueless and she is killing this country. I think Canadians should get on their knees and beg her to take a holiday.”  Ontario’s pension plan “is a bad idea,” he said, as are the cap-and-trade discussions.

“It’s scary,” O’Leary said of all the job losses and business closures. “It is becoming a Third World banana republic.”  And there’s no voice of reason in Ottawa to counter the provincial trends.

“We now have a new  federal problem,” he said. “Finance Minister (Bill) Morneau is a good guy by most metrics, but a $30-billion deficit budget is a big problem. Everybody down here is freaked out.”  As are Canadian investors, who CIBC reported this week have placed $75 billion in cash on the sidelines instead of investing in Canadian business.  The reason?

“The deficit was supposed to be $10 billion but now they are talking $30 billion. As a Canadian taxpayer, I don’t want my government to spend $30 billion by themselves. They don’t have the talent to do that. They need to draw in the private sector.”  With that kind of debt on the books, O’Leary warns, outsiders will look to other countries to risk their money.  “You want to know why the Canadian dollar is collapsing? It’s because nobody will invest,” he said.

And young people he teaches are telling him they have little confidence about the future.  “They want to leave Canada, don’t want to be paid in dollerettes and pay 58.5% tax,” he said. “They don’t think they have a future here.”  He says foreign investors feel the same way.  “I am pitching Canada and they are not buying,” he said. “I can’t get a foreign investor to invest in Canada and I am the best salesman you’ve got.”

O’Leary said talk of him running for office with a slate of people who could help fix the country is still a long way off.  “I am just glad we are having this conversation now before it’s lost,” he said. “As a Canadian citizen, I am depressed. We need some leadership right away.”  If we don’t get some, he asks: “When do they bring the torches up to the castle and set it on fire?”

*****

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

And what does Forbes think about Canada now?  Well, using the latest available data (2014) they now find Canada has slipped to 7th place in the world. Now Denmark is 1st and New Zealand is 2nd. so what changed … nothing material … we still enjoy a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs about three-fourths of our merchandise exports each year. Canada is still the US’s largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, and electric power, and a top source of US uranium imports. We still have abundant natural resources, a highly skilled labor force, and a relatively modern capital plant. Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007.

Despite buffeting by the global economic crisis, a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa’s first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus under the Conservatives led by Stephen Harper. Canada recovered from the 2008/09 financial crisis arguably stronger and conservative policies were validated across the board. Canada’s major banks emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the early intervention by the Bank of Canada and the financial sector’s tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.

Canada achieved marginal growth in 2010-14 and had plans to balance the budget by 2015 despite the drop in oil prices. In addition, the country’s petroleum sector was rapidly expanding, because Alberta’s oil sands significantly boosted Canada’s proven oil reserves. Canada now ranks third in the world in proved oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and is the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.

For some current numbers lets look at just one city, the City of Calgary, Alberta, since the election of Rachel Notley and her gang.

*****

001-empty-night-downtown-calgary

Calgary A Ghost Town … or the set for some horror movie where all the people vanished.

The economic downturn is hitting Calgary companies hard as an increasing number of businesses have shut down, city data shows. In 2016 so far, 4,114 businesses have closed, according to data provided by the city. If the trend continues, more than 7,000 businesses will have shut down by the end of the year. In 2015, 6,337 businesses shut their doors and 5,902 in 2014. Calgary’s downtown is also seeing the highest office vacancy rate of anywhere in the country, The Huffington Post Canada reported

*****

That’s 19,239 business closures in just one city since Rachel took power. Ya figure there’s a connection? Is the Pope Catholic?  So what happened?  Why the precipitous slide from 1st to 7th place in the ratings?  What changed?

Enter the Destroyers!

001-empty_office

Over 20% vacancy rate in Calgary

It seems that Politics Matter. What happened is people who know nothing about how economies work, voted en-mass for change because they were just sick of the corruption and boondoggles of the existing rulers. The low-information voter and the politics of gang envy  triumphed again in the race to the bottom. You probably didn’t realize it but we are a civilized country, we don’t have gangs and a gang problem, right?  Here we call them “Public Service” unions, and now they are running the asylum.

Politics matter.  “You can have the most advanced and efflorescent cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933.” ― Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics

001-thecoreshoppingcomplexdowntowncalgaryWell what do you think Alberta?  How do you like the change now? Now that you have voted in The Destroyers. Now we have the LGBT tyranny imposed in all schools by government fiat. Now we have government sponsored murder of children and the sale of their dismembered parts. Now we have government sponsored euthanasia, and who knows, recycle the biomass?

Can anyone see even one micron of moral difference between Canada 2016 and Germany 1933? The Truth screams it’s answer!  There is no difference whatsoever, and history will judge us the same way they judge the German people of 1933. Who killed more innocent people, Canadian Socialists, Soviet Socialists, or National Socialists?  Do the math, they are all in a dead heat going 90 miles an hour down a dead end street.

Now the Destroyers are pushing the Gaia religion down our throats by taking steps today to destroy the energy industry in Alberta. These steps will see the closure of coal fired electricity generation stations and the associated mines, wiping out 40% of our generation capacity and increasing our power bills by 400%. They are not stupid people. They know exactly what they are doing and why.

aasacrificing-to-their-god-lfs-990-600x466Rhetorical Questions: (A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious answer but you have asked the question to make a point, to persuade or for literary effect.)  Anyway, Do you think Germany was better off AFTER the First and Second World War or before them?” Why? Were these wars good for the folks or bad for the folks? Why?

The obvious answer is that in the case of the world wars German Ideology trumped reality on the ground and the leadership actually believed in their ideological plans for the future. And of course all those plans were an utter failure and the folks paid the price and bore the brunt of the results.

And what are we watching our leaders doing now?

1234-first-ministers-20161209

The Destroyers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most of the premiers signed a historic pan-Canadian framework Friday to fight climate change and meet the country’s 2030 emissions reduction targets (Kyoto Accords, Jean Chretien, 1997 , which the Progressive Socialists have been trying desperately to ram down our throats for almost 20 years) but a day of tense talks failed to convince two provinces to get onside.

I’d guess that the leaders in Saskatchewan and Manitoba understand what the real costs are for supporting the Gaia worshipers and their anti carbon religion. Ordinary folks need jobs, not a carbon tax. Ordinary folks need a reliable economy  and reasonably costs of living, not a first place ribbon from the Kyoto crowd for some political puff toy who has never had to do a days work in his life.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba both said they would not be able to sign the agreement Friday.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has steadfastly opposed any sort of carbon pricing and didn’t waver, saying it would be foolish to impose a levy with the imminent arrival of president-elect Donald Trump to the White House.

Trump has vowed to scrap many of the green-friendly regulations implemented by President Barack Obama, and this week appointed a climate change sceptic to head the country’s Environmental Protection Agency, Wall noted. He said it’s unlikely Canada will be able to convert Trump into a climate change warrior.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley chat prior to a roundtable meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley chat prior to a round-table meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

“I’m just saying, let’s not be naive as Canadians. This is our number one not just trading partner but competitor for investments in energy … and we need to be competitive with them. And that’s some of the concerns we have,” Wall said.

Boy Justin just blew him off with a fantasy nationalistic puff piece about how Canada sets it’s own policies!!!!!   Seriously Justin?????

This isn’t drama class and you are not in the school play as the hero.

What you are blowing at us besides greenhouse gas is the notion that we can afford to piss in our neighbour’s soup because you and your acolytes and handlers don’t like Trump’s views.

I am sorry, but “LOVE TRUMP’S HATE” will not help the folks in Canada when 70% to 80% of our economy grinds to a halt at the U.S. border. Seriously????? (ed. note: Has anyone else noticed that Boy Justin is the only politician in any of the pics we see these days with no grey hair?  Why is that, do you think?)

Is this the Canada we want to live in? Is it truly impossible to do ANYTHING about it? Or, unpleasant as it may feel when we look in the mirror, are we not just too lazy, and too well off, to care or feel motivated enough, to take any action at all, even in the worst recessional economy in decades?

On the face of it, it sure looks like Rachel and Justin and the rest of the “take other people’s stuff crowd” are absolutely right when they decide that Canadians will just roll over and beg with their tongues hanging out and their tails wagging whenever the Progressive Socialists snap their fingers.

Just in case nobody hasn’t figured out my point of view from the last couple of posts please reflect on the generally accepted principal of government that ALL Canadian Political Parties are considerably to the LEFT (Socialist) side of even the worst of the Barking Moonbat Lefties in the U.S. EH!

123456-being-liberal

Being Liberal

So, speaking of Moonbats,  for those of you, my readers, who feel that CBC and CTV and Macleans are missing a few bricks … I give you a litmus test of where you stand in the political firmament.

The first question is: Are you happy with the views opinions, and emotions found on this site? Or are you offended by these emotions?: https://www.facebook.com/beingliberal.org

1234-barking-moonbat-june_2012_bmewslogo

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System

The second question is: Do you see some of the humour in the items raised on this site or are you offended by it?: http://www.barking-moonbat.com/index.php

As I mentioned earlier, our politics matter. I found an interesting concise paragraph on politics at Commentary Magazine a while ago. Here is a clip from that article:

*****

At the core of every social, political, and economic system is a picture of human nature, to paraphrase the 20th century columnist Walter Lippmann. The way that picture developments determines the lives we lead, the institutions we build, and the civilization we create. The political philosophy of Madison produces one set of results; the political philosophy of Marx produces another; (ed. and the philosophy of ISIS produces yet another)

So yes: ideas move politics in one direction or the other, toward justice or away from it. Like all things human, it’s imperfect, frustrating, and fraught with failure. It’s a long, hard grind. And it’s not always aesthetically pleasing. But cynicism that leads to political disengagement–the world-weary, pox-on-both-your-houses, what difference does it make, I don’t give a damn attitude that seems rather fashionable and trendy these days–can lead to disaster.

Because someone’s ideas will prevail. If ones that advance justice and human flourishing win out, it won’t be by accident or by default. It’ll be the product of determined effort; of those who do not grow weary in doing good.

*****

I guess that is enough for now, I note, in closing, that all these new and grandiose Progressive Green plans are SO HUGE and all encompassing that there is no conceivable way they can be implemented in the 2 years remaining to our resident crop of left wing managers currently living the dream in the corner offices in Ottawa and Edmonton. That fact, and the reality of death for all humans, fills me with optimism at a time when there is little optimism to go around. Even if the entire culture goes into the sewer a la Romans or more recently the Germans, we will rise again.

Cheers

Joe

100-canadian-landscape It’s winter now in Mordor, oops, my bad, Alberta,but spring will come, just wait and see.

Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

Standard