Column: Voters have short memories

Remember when Alberta defaulted on loans in the 1930s? In this week’s MLA column

Voters have short memories.

But what of the youth who never new what the previous generation remembers.They have no memory at all of things now past.

Many today have no memory that once Alberta was bankrupt and in default of bonds due forrepayment. Alberta struggled with a crisis of insolvency for nearly 10 years.

In 1935 our government was $385 million in debt and had no means to repay it or to pay the annual service charge of $40 million. Alberta had to negotiate bankruptcy proceedings with Ottawa.

It was no joke, when on April 1, 1936 the Alberta government found itself with no money and in default on a provincial bond due. In October the province defaulted on a second bond issue due of $1.25 million.

Our government unilaterally reduced the rate it would pay on debt to 2.5% which infuriated the lenders. Alberta’s bonds were barred from trading on the London Stock Exchange and no one would loan to the government of Alberta.

Short memory; no memory.

Here we are again heading in that direction. Few recognize the warning signs; they mock, not knowing the danger. The NDP campaigned on a promise of a balanced budget by 2018 (really, Google it).

Now they say it will take till 2023 to get to a balanced budget and the debt will be $96 Billion. With such debt another prolonged economic downturn could lead us to a canyon of insolvency once again.

The first tragedy of an Ab government cash crisis would be the loss of services, essential and otherwise. The second tragedy would be that the younger taxpayers get saddled with many more years of paying interest and debt back.

The Calgary School of Public Policy, in May, released a study showing that younger age groups will pay a disproportionate burden: over half of the tax burden will fall on people ages 16 to 35.

Young adults should be disturbed. They are trying to pay for education, start a family, buy a first house and start business but they will be chained to debt the NDP are spending now with virtually no benefit to them directly.

“The highest burden will be placed on individuals who are 36 years old in 2023, who will pay $49,864.

Older age groups will shoulder a lower burden, with a typical 65-year-old paying $20,605,” (Global News).

And yet in many cases it is the older people who are most opposed to the debt. Why? They remember. It is time to plumb the depths of our collective memory.

I am a fiscal conservative. Careful budgeting and spending discipline is the key to success in our personal and public lives.

This kind of discipline will in fact protect our essential services and allow Alberta to provide the best health care, education, infrastructure, policing and other necessities possible in a real world of limited resources.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any issue, feel free to contact my office at 403-782-7725; e-mail Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca; 101, 4892 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4.

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