Monday, March 05, 2007

Where's it all going?

Albertans think about this for a moment, and think hard.

Where is the money going? I'm not even talking about the surplus now, I'm talking about the money. Oil is higher than it's ever been. This is everybody gets laid time among the power tie crowd in Calgary's boardrooms.

Down at street level though the homeless count one night last year was 3,436. This was a conservative count and the numbers have swelled since then. Many suffered severe frostbite this winter as the swamped drop-in center had to turn people away at the door.

Our hospitals are turning away patients and our politicians are pushing dubious flirtations with private delivery on us because with huge surpluses, it's apparently more important to give cash to huge oil companies than spend on public health care.

Meanwhile tiny Arab sheikdoms are building hundred story vanity towers and air-conditioning every inch of sand. Venezuela is getting huge boosts in literacy rates and infant survival from massive social expenditures, less sustainably it is charging it's own people pennies for gasoline, but it is doing all of this with a similar level of wealth.

Here in Calgary we have a roads and public transit infra-structure that would be at the breaking point with half of our population. Try taking a train in Calgary at rush hour if you don't believe me. Similar strains exist throughout the roads and highways of the whole province. The Tories created a fiscal debt, then converted it to an infrastructure debt and now tell us it's us who have to tighten our belts as Alberta racks up surpluses in the billions and oil prices hover at the $60 a barrel mark.

So again, all questions of ideology, sustainability and governing philosophy aside, where is the money going?

Someday the oil will be gone. The sticky tarry muck of the oil sands will be sucked dry, the natural gas reservoirs will be tapped, the ancient old growth forests will have all been turned into toilet paper, the fresh water will have been blasted into the ground to force up the last bubbling drips of fossil fuels or sold in bulk across the border, all the fragile natural wealth of Alberta will have been exhausted.

And we'll still be wondering where the money from all that rapacious exploitation went and why our leaders golf vacations someplace warm keep getting longer and longer.

For we are Albertans.

1 comment:

Matthew The Astrologer said...

Wondering where all the cash is going thaqt Calgarians should be seeing? Have you seen the plans for the gigantic hideous Borg-cube of a building Encana will be building in the downtown?

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