Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thinking Poor

My father has this saying, he says that people 'think poor'.

He used to say this when explaining to me the mentality of the primarily agricultural and ultra conservative province we live in. The 'think poor' mentality is all about fear. Fear of spending and then not having anything left. Fear of letting anyone know you have anything, because then they might want something. Fear that money is being spent on useless things.

Now my father is about as left wing as you can get. And having grown up with him I tend to hold a lot of his ideals. But I was also educated in a school system that valued entrepreuralism. Capitalism as they say, was good.

Yet, this education has never really meshed with the world around me. For years I have been confused by politics, ideas and motivations in my province. Alberta, you see has hit the jackpot. We have black gold, and an abundance of other highly sought after and lucrative natural resources. And due to what the Economist magazine would call, sound fiscal management in the 90's we have no debt. The money just keeps rolling in.

Yet, how did we get to this spot? Simple, we starved every social program we had for over a decade. People who were in their final years of pensionable earnings were rolled back 5% of their wage. Others who had worked for government companies for years were downsized and government assets sold off. Every union was ably targeted and squeezed for whatever could be pinched from their member. Many of whom where deathly afraid they would soon meet the same fate as their counterparts in enterprises that had been made 'competitive.' This combined with the fact that we hit the geographical and resource jackpot have made Alberta the new powerhouse province in Canada.

Alberta is like the Jeffersons, we are moving on up. Now we have a new Premier. Normally, this would make me happy. Change can be good. Maybe he will be willing to share some of the wealth the previous Premier rung from the province like a hand towel. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that this rural farmer may 'think poor' more than the previous.

Picture from Flickr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm loving your recent political flare! Pretty soon you'll be dreaming about politicians like me:)