So Much For Accountability, Eh?

Dear Editor,

Re: “Modern Day Air Farce” March 22, 2023

The author brought up the subject of “woke”, but he doesn’t define what it means. It’s an American word associated with the far right in the GOP (Grand Old Phoneys) who attack the liberal, pinko, commie, and tree huggers who wish to discuss various social issues in American history and culture.

The “woke” folks oppose any discussion of racism and bigotry in our society, and they oppose any discussions concerning the persecution, harassment, and violence committed against women, Jews, Mormons, Irish Catholics, Muslims, Hispanics, blacks, Asians, indigenous peoples, migrants, immigrants, the news media, etc.

They oppose women having legal abortions and abortion pills. They also favour banning books they don’t like, and censoring materials used in the schools they don’t like either.

They want to sanitize history so there wouldn’t be any discussion of the “good, the bad, and the ugly” in our history. Basically, a “white-only” history.

They favour private schools and charter schools over public schools, and they want the taxpayers to pay for those private institutions.

Changing subjects: In a recent poll in Mountain View County (published in The Albertan), 80.2% of the voters opposed giving royalty relief to the oil companies to clean up abandoned (orphan) wells, yet our provincial gov’t, headed by our premier, proposes that taxpayers pay for the cost. So much for accountability, eh?

When is our gov’t going to make the energy companies pay for the taxes they owe to municipalities? Note: The governor of Kansas (Laura Kelly) admitted the state made a “ big mistake” in granting pipeline companies tax exemptions after a Keystone pipeline spilled 14, 000 barrels of crude oil onto the land and into the water. The Kansas law (statute 79-227) exempted new oil and natural gas pipelines from property taxes for ten (10) years after the construction of the pipelines was completed.

Meanwhile, Imperial Oil posted the largest dividend in its history, and the other major energy giants also posted record profits. So, what do our politicians do about such matters? Basically, they give the energy companies more deregulations and more taxpayers’ money to promote more oil production. As consumers, what do we get for such “sweetheart deals’? Lower gas prices? Lower food costs? Lower property taxes?

Red Tape Reduction: The Alberta gov’t claimed that it has eliminated 33% of all regulatory requirements, and it even created a separate bureaucracy for that purpose. However, it doesn’t publish the list of deregulated regulations. Any time a politician discusses the deregulation of a business/industry, what he/she is saying is to cut regulations so the business community can make more money at the expense to the consumer. For examples. let’s look at oil leaks in northern Alberta that affected the indigenous communities as well as poisoning the water to our northerner neighbours. Our gov’t and the oil company involved did not bother to inform the folks affected by the oil spill. Where were the regulations governing such disasters?

Recently, there have been reports of numerous train derailments in the US. As a matter of fact, over 1,000 train derailments occur in America, on average, every year. Why? Well, back in 2018, ex-president (Trump) deregulated the industry. Consequently, train companies have cut safety rules and regulations so they could make more money.

Canadians have probably heard of the banking crisis that recently happened in Silicon Valley in California that resulted in several major US banks going under, and some foreign banks were affected as well. Why? Remember the Great Recession of 2008? The US gov’t had deregulated the banking system to allow people to buy homes even those who didn’t have the financial resources to do so, and when the banking system collapsed, governments in many countries had to “bail out” the banks, the auto industry, and airline companies to prevent a depression.

So, rules/regulations were established by the US govt’ to prevent the banks from being careless with their money, but in 2018, Trump deregulated the rules and regulations pertaining to the banks. Guess what? “Cutting red tape” led to the latest banking crisis.

Basically, we have a “company town” (the energy companies) dominating our lives, for better or worse, and we have little to say about the way our provincial gov’t manages or mismanages our financial resources with respect to collecting money from the energy companies, ensuring our Heritage Trust Fund is protected (when was the last time our provincial gov’t gave a financial report on our fund?), and spending public money on private businesses. Oh! Except to spend (like drunks ___) our budget surpluses on “buying votes”, leading up to the May election. In my opinion.

George Thatcher

Olds, AB