The failure of social license

Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 until 1990. She was not only the first woman to become Prime Minister; she was also the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 20th century. She set the standard for modern women in politics with her strong will and firm resolve that earned her the nickname “The Iron Lady.”

Prime Minster Thatcher was also known for what some called, “Thatcherisms.” One of her more famous “Thatcherisms” was directed towards the inevitability and futility of socialism;

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

When Alberta’s carbon tax was implemented, the Notley government proclaimed that we would obtain social license which would allow Alberta to develop our energy products and move them unencumbered to the world markets. This social license has unfortunately been completely disregarded by the British Columbia government, who obviously do not share the validity of this mythical social entity.

In the most recent NDP budget, the Notley government reneged on their original promise when they introduced the carbon tax, that it would be revenue-neutral. Their recent budget confirmed that they would be using the carbon tax to balance their books; which effectively transformed it into a provincial sales tax.

The other people supplying the money in Alberta are finding it increasingly more difficult to create that wealth the government needs to create their socialist utopia. The deeper the NDP dig into the pockets of Albertans, the closer they get to the bottom of that pocket, which means they’re getting closer to running out of “other people’s money.”

Last week Kinder Morgan announced it is suspending all non-essential activities on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which is Canada’s last chance to get our oil to tidewater. The shared ideology of the BC and Alberta NDP has resulted in conditions that have eroded the confidence of the investors in Kinder Morgan.

With fewer revenue sources available, the only financial options left will inevitably land squarely in the laps of everyday Albertans. The short-term pain that was promised to bring long-term gain has brought us closer to creating an economically stagnant fiscal environment.

The carbon tax itself has become punitive to the industries that create the jobs that generate the lion’s share of revenues that this province operates on. As investment slows to a trickle, Alberta gets closer to the Alberta government running out of “other people’s money” – your money.

Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote on socialism is now being played out in Alberta and it is doing substantial damage to Alberta’s economy and our reputation in the investment world.


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