Editorial – The idiocy continues

Jeff Burgar

“Allow us to have the magic Wand! We will wave it and ‘Poof de Presto’ hundreds of thousands of jobs will mightily appear!

“Fields will be lush and green with wonderful crops. Ranches will fill our plates with premium beef. Gold nuggets will be found laying on the streets. Foreign countries, including our neighbours to the south, will be phoning, pleading for our oil and gas, and looking for investment opportunities. Fantastic days will be upon us all in Alberta. Yes, just give us the magic wand.”

Maybe that’s laying it on slightly too thick. But it seems just one step to that from what Alberta provincial civil servants are today arguing.

Our UCP government asks those employed by the Province to take a four per cent wage cut. They also want some job descriptions changed, so some employees may see another three per cent cut on top of that.

These are challenging times for everybody. Except, as you may have noticed, the story that, “We are all in this together” doesn’t ring true for certain chunks of the economy.

On the one side, we have energy patch workers being tossed on the streets. Most aren’t even asked if they will take a 20 or 25 per cent wage cut.

Small business owners are working everywhere for amounts from zero to just enough to put some oatmeal on the table and pay the electricity.

Restaurant, hotel and other staff in so many other businesses were all on government programs as their business places were closed.

The list of private enterprise businesses seeing zero sales, or at a minimum big declines, is extremely long.

Meanwhile, other chunks are booming. Hardware stores are having great times as stay-at-home people fix their homes. Some fast food outlets are doing fine as their regular competitions are closed. Online ventures like Amazon and Netflix are grinning from A to Z. Forestry is coming back from several years of average and even decline as mostly, the American economy returns to home building in a big way.

So even though Alberta as a province is going in the hole by $24 billion this year, things aren’t all that bad for some. The money amount is about $5,700 for each and every citizen in this province.

Premier Jason Kenney wants all government employees to take that four per cent cut. According to Rachel Notley, a whole bunch of civil servants earn “only” $50,000 per year. She never said anything about gold-plated benefits and pensions. So even those “hard done by folks” earning that “small” amount will have to shoulder an “immense” $2,000 per year directly.

Indirectly, of course, we all get whacked.

Meanwhile, if you can believe it, the AUPE union that argues for civil servants, instead wants government workers to all get a five per cent raise! Maybe they figure that arguing from a high ask is good tactics. They can then allow themselves to be whittled down to a tiny one or two per cent.

This is unbounded idiocy. We are all, if you can forgive the sarcasm, in this together. As usual, some are just more “in this” than others.

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