Parkland Institute researcher offers up the Alberta Alternative

Housing starts are up. Fewer Albertans are on employment insurance. Oil prices are on the rise. In fact by most accounts if you live in Wildrose Country everything’s coming up Milhouse.

Unless of course you’re Diana Gibson research director for the Parkland Institute then you’re just one of those damn realists who enjoys bursting everyone’s bubble with things like facts figures and other nonsense.

Gibson spoke to a small crowd in Calgary on Tuesday evening offering alternatives to economic recovery that didn’t include tax cuts or handouts to the oil and gas industry. "Royalty rebates aren’t job-creation programs because oil and gas drilling isn’t labour intensive" she said at the Council for Canadians -hosted talk. For example take the 8000 jobs the province boasts it will create with its newest royalty/competitive scheme which is far-outweighed by the 15000 jobs lost in February alone.

The government’s belief it can magically get its financial house in order without raising taxes and slashing royalty rates and that signs of an economic recovery are blossoming is fanciful thinking Gibson told the audience.

"There’s a complete lack of recognition that the recovery is a jobless recovery" says Gibson. "What they’re not talking about is real jobs for Albertans who are out of work from the recession or whose incomes are down to almost nothing like those who are selling cars."

Can’t say I disagree. Not a lot of people I know are living reaping the benefits of the once highly-vaunted Alberta Advantage. Many are living month to month over-leveraged and very worried. What do you think?