It's absolutely astonishing how today it seems almost every Canadian and their dog is saying "oh we saw this coming", "we told you so" etc, while putting their faith into more failed adventures proving the true cause of our predicament still goes unnoticed, or at the very least misunderstood. I remember when I first began my blogs much of the resentment that was thrown my way for making such "dire" forecasts. I was called paranoid, a conspiracy theorist. I was repeatedly told that "the policies of the conservatives ensured our banks were stable", and variations on the same propaganda, repeated by repeaters who can't see the difference between political analysis and rhetoric. Today many of these same people are saying things similar to what I'm saying, however still based on rhetoric, still based on repeating what they heard on the TV or talk radio.
Turn off your TV, folks.
Do you ever notice how sports "analysis" and political "analysis" mirrors each other? While watching sports your entertainment experience is often interrupted so that you can listen to 2-5 guys in nice suits discuss "the game" in the same fashion a political panel might discuss current events. In fact they are modelled on the same premise and subconsciously you are not supposed to distinguish between them. These two divisive panels are meant to be interchangeable, the sports commentators act like "the game" is news and the political panelists act like issues and positions are sports. 'Debate' is often considered a sport itself.
I find the structure of this "analysis" lends itself perfectly to promoting the repetitive nature of political rhetoric primarily because people get so caught up in the argument and cheering for their "team" that all critical thinking goes out the window. Everyone seems to be looking for that next 'zinger' and few seem to be critically analyzing the situation nor entertaining ideas outside of the box or beyond the institution. Alberta (yep, yet another post mentioning good 'ol Alberta) provides a prime example:
The province’s first economic summit on Saturday reinforced the pressing the need to get oilsands products to international markets, and Hughes said his department is working on an aggressive new plan to upgrade Alberta’s resources in Canada and get them to coastal ports for export “however we can.”I've already focused on how Alberta's "pressing need" dictates their priority and pointed out how Redford simply admitted to you all that it's "job #1" for her government (you know, as opposed to running a province and providing for the citizens of that province) so this time lets first focus on Alberta getting it's oil to 'coastal ports' for export 'however we can'.
“It is a paradigm shift,” Hughes said. “We’ve taken a very deliberate, strategic approach to this. When you step back, what is Alberta’s interest? Alberta’s interest is to get the best possible price for every barrel of oil that is sold from this province.
“We’re at the stage where all ideas are good ideas,” Hughes said. “As a result, we’re fully prepared to look at all of the options, options that even two years ago would have seemed completely speculative and would have never had a hope of being considered seriously.”These right here are some pretty telling statements that when combined with some other aspects really shows how desperate Alberta's situation is becoming. "We're at the stage where all ideas are good ideas", except any ideas which include diversification away from oil sands developments right? They're entertaining all ideas all right, every half-assed brainless idea they can come up with "since April" to protect "job #1" for this government (and by extension the province) and that's all.
Alberta will get it's oil to 'coastal ports' for export 'however they can'. However they can likely includes lying to you to support a West->East pipeline under the false pretense that it will address energy security in Canada. The truth is it will be used to export from other coasts, all of the talk of "value-added" in Canada is simply P.R. to get you all to go along with it.
"options that even two years ago would have seemed completely speculative and would have never had a hope of being considered seriously" - Here Alberta admits for you that it never had a long term plan and has completely altered it's strategy quite recently. Of course their new plan, like their old plan, is focused on private profits at the public expense and as always Alberta is overestimating the capacity of their future trading partners, ignoring their true economic condition (as we ignored the U.S.), and also underestimating it's own infrastructure costs which as discussed many times before on this blog will always continue to outweigh the diminishing revenues we receive. The driving force behind these expansions is obvious, and it's not the "public good".
(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote), which is seeking U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, reported a 19 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit due to lower earnings from its power business and reduced contributions from some natural gas pipelines.Alberta power rates among highest in country; deregulated market blamed for price spikes
I've pointed out before how Alberta's power consumption is also the highest in Canada and the challenges that presents. What should also be noted is how Alberta's deregulated market aids the two tiered electricity industry as we witnessed during Alberta's rolling blackouts when despite the fact that the majority of our power consumption comes from industry it was the populations who experienced the blackouts while the province ensured full power was delivered to industry. Here they are blaming the deregulated market for the power spikes and cite "market volatility" as the core reason, of course market volatility is not unto itself a reason for anything.
Market volatility is a symptom of the reason and that reason is the demand on our power grid continues to increase. Volatility when dealing with real demand and supply comes from fluctuations in demand due to the uncertainty of supply. Consumers are being forced to compete with the oil sands' industries electricity demand and more and more are fighting over a tighter supply. The deregulated market in a two tiered system such as this one simply ensures that an industry run electricity industry always wins.
Northeast Alberta growth creating calls for highway improvements
Our demands for growth wait for no one but our infrastructure requirements sure do:
As growth continues in the area so too does traffic on highway 881. There was $1 billion in development in Lac La Biche county in 2012 compared to $100 million the previous year. Both police and drivers note many drivers are impatient with the traffic and make horrible decisions.While the issue of safety is the primary concern, Albertans should keep in mind these highways which were designed for the small communities within Northern Alberta were never designed for the types and quantities of industrial traffic utilizing them. These improvements are needed solely because of Alberta's industrial choices. More cost, more borrowing, all on the backs of the taxpayers rather than the industry they are being developed for.
Overall it should now be quite obvious that the conditions required for Alberta's long fall into the industrialized economic abyss are readily available.
The domestic terror threat
Coincidently timed to match with Canada's growing unrest CSIS is refocusing on "domestic terrorism". The corporate takeover of our own country (like that of the U.S. and European nations) is now in full swing and guess what? They know you're not going to like the results. The focus on terrorism over the last 12 years has always, ultimately, been about the "domestic" threat which as time goes on will encompass more and more activities the government (read: corporations) doesn't like. One day in the near future there will be no law and order as it will have been replaced with corporate policy and terrorism. Every day that goes by now brings us one day closer to that point.
The picture of the future is becoming clear, and those getting the shit end of the stick are quickly figuring it out.
Update-1: This is what prosperity looks like
It appears Fort McMurray (you know, the city at the center of Alberta's "prosperity") is entertaining a 4 day school week to help offset their $4.4 Million dollar budget deficit. Keep in mind this isn't Alberta's deficit, but the city's deficit. There's really more deficit in Alberta than you can shake a stick at and still our infrastructure is in shambles compared to where it should be to support the level of development we want to have here.
Would you say that, when the city that primarily gets it's benefits from oilsands developments/workers/etc is wondering whether or not they can even afford a 5-day school week, is a sign of prosperity? How much longer will Albertans continue lying to themselves about all "their riches" while their children get drowned out in debt? Hmm? How much longer and do any of you have the balls to stop it? Are any of you willing to sacrifice the temporary and insignificant immediate benefits to protect the future generation? Oil sands prosperity is a lie, and the sooner we figure this out the better off we'll be.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading.