By Graham Hicks
In Calgary, the taxpayers finally spoke with a loud, clear voice.
No Olympic bid! We can’t afford it!
For once, the madness of profligate government spending has been curbed.
The irresistible attraction of politicians like Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to firmly fix their fingers around glittering baubles with no realistic return has been thwarted.
Imagine! Spending unnecessary millions/billions when Calgary’s commercial tax base has dried up due to half-empty office towers, when Calgary has such a high unemployment rate — not necessarily among the lesser-skilled, but also of skilled professionals.
Imagine! This drowning-in-debt New Democrat party, that will govern Alberta for at least the next six months, was prepared to spend yet another $700 million (that it did not have) on an Olympics bid!
I couldn’t more disagree with the Olympics boosters, who claimed the “soft” return on the costs of hosting an Olympics — recognition, confidence building, pitching Calgary as a place to do business — would justify the cost.
Corporate Canada will re-populate downtown Calgary when rents and salaries become dirt-cheap compared to Vancouver or Toronto — not because CEOs enjoyed themselves at an Olympics!
The 2010 Winter Olympics gave Vancouver a good party, but that city’s property and real estate values would have shot up just as quickly without the 2010 Olympics. Yes, they got some infrastructure, thanks to (taxpayer) cash from the feds and the B.C. government.
I’m all for a good party — within our means.
Negligible public money is being pumped into the current Grey Cup festivities on Jasper Avenue East. In fact, it’s the opposite. The Eskimos have announced a $500,000 donation from its Grey Cup profits towards a field-only winter cover for Commonwealth Stadium.
Were you not flabbergasted by Premier Rachel Notley’s dissing of all economists when she responded to University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe’s realistic study, suggesting Alberta’s debt could be among the worst of all Canadian provinces by 2040, costing $22 billion a year in interest charges!
What do economists know, sniffed Notley. Besides, any serious restraint or tax hikes would cause “massive damage to the economy.”
This, from a government determined to protect and reward an ever-growing civil service and public sector — by taking on more debt!
Private-sector employees are becoming increasingly resentful of the 23% of Alberta’s workforce (according to the Alberta 2017 Labour Market Highlights) on the government’s payroll through the public and quasi-public (health and education) sectors.
The 23% have good jobs, good hours, a guaranteed paycheque, no threat of layoffs, benefits, pensions, holidays … while private-sector employees are being hammered, along with their employers, by the extended collapse of the energy industry, and the tax burden being imposed by the NDPers to pay the 23 per-centers!
Edmonton has been, to city council’s credit, more fiscally responsible — except for overspending on bike lanes, and a blind, dogged determination to build out a multi-billion-dollar mass-transit system that’s creating as many problems as it is solving and may well be obsolete when finished.
Why do these governments refuse to behave like responsible homeowners? (And don’t get me going on the unnecessary debt being run up by the federal Liberal government!)
We are forced to live within our means. If our income drops, we slow down our spending!
No winter holiday, one car instead of two, ground beef not steak.
If the loss of income is especially severe, we downsize to a more modest home in a less desirable neighbourhood. At least the property taxes won’t be so high. Or, worst-case scenario, we move to where the jobs are.
Yes, you could borrow on your credit card, pretending, just like the New Democrats, that things will get better and somehow you’ll pay off just enough debt to keep the bill collectors away.
But we all know — besides Nenshi, Notley and their crowd — that is foolish thinking. All debt eventually has to be paid back, plus interest. And if that debt gets too big (and especially if interest rates start climbing) the consequences will be far more devastating than any current belt-tightening.
Thank you, Calgary, for turning down the Olympics.
Let us vote out any governments spending so frivolously today without concern for the future.