Opinion by Helge Nome
The saga of Bill 50 continues. This bill, which has now become a law created by our elected representatives in the Alberta Legislature, including MLA Ty Lund in the Rocky constituency, effectively bypasses the technical skills of the Alberta Utilities Commission, and puts a $15 billion government spending decision in the hands of politicians with direct links to Alberta’s energy industry, based on advice from people with a vested interest in seeing the project go ahead as soon as possible. Major electricity transmission lines are planned for construction across Alberta, ostensibly for the benefit of Albertans in order to avoid electricity blackouts.
However, electricity industry insiders are challenging this assertion, saying that local electricity generation, close to major population centers, could easily pick up the extra load on the system in the future. The argument is that the proposed transmission lines are really there to be used for electricity exports to the United States.
Now, this is where it gets interesting: Alberta’s electricity consumers will be required to pay for the new transmission lines by way of a surcharge on their electricity bills while the power companies get to use the new energy highway to export their energy to the US. By all accounts a freebee for them at our expense.
To sum it up: We are being had. Our politicians have cozied up with major energy companies at our expense. They are privatizing profits and socializing debt.
But the problem runs deeper than that. It applies equally to the financial world which is the epicenter of political power. Over the last number of years money has been enticed into the speculative economy, away from the productive economy, on the promise of quick gains. The result is now facing us starkly: A shortage of money and credit in the productive economy, with industry and commerce slowing down and shedding jobs.
That was exactly what happened after the stock market crash in 1929 and for the very same reasons: Highly leveraged debt created by speculative activities in the financial world. Then the straw house came tumbling down, bringing with it the Great Depression. Our politicians on the federal level have progressively facilitated these speculative activities in our financial system, enabling the migration of money from the commercial banking system, that has served us well, into the hands of financial manipulators working for so called “investment banks”.
William Aberhart and his incoming Social Credit Government in Alberta inherited a bankrupt province in 1935 and he and his team did the best they could to salvage the pieces and rebuild the province. This work has largely been forgotten by the present generation of Albertans.
With conditions now closely resembling those of the early thirties, it is time to take another look at Social Credit and see what it has to offer Albertans.
To that end, a public discussion forum will be hosted by Albertans for Social Credit at 7pm in the Elks’ Hall in Leslieville on Thursday, February 25, to look at options for real change in Alberta. The setting will be informal with a free exchange of views encouraged. Refreshments will be provided. A blog has been created here