Kenney has come up with some great ideas to cut his deficit
Last week, a Financial Post headline read, "Alberta Takes 50 per cent Stake In Troubled Refinery." That refers to the ailing Sturgeon Refinery northeast of Edmonton. It's lost money ever since it's inception, with estimated costs of $5.7 million, that soared to almost $11 million.
To make the deal Kenney negotiated getting a 50 per cent equity from North West Refinery, forgo future tolling rights, as well paying them $425 million. The other 50 per cent equity partner, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. scored a measly $400 million. Sonya Savage said "the only way to improve the situation was to actually jump in further" and "We could have just left it. We inherited a pretty bad deal...".
Business professor Andrew Leach told the Financial Post, "they're now taking on both sides of the deal. They're going to be paying a toll to themselves." Previous governments in Alberta have had other opportunities to get out of the deal with North West Refining, but chose instead to offer loan guarantees to the project.
Leach added, "We've essentially now handed hundreds of millions of dollars to someone who has cost us billions of dollars."
Is this a good deal? With a re-structured debt, we will pay more in the long run. We will now be business partners with the private sector. Is that ever a good idea?
Another great idea to fix the deficit is on the backs of nurses. He is asking nurses to roll back their wages and some benefits to the tune of 5 per cent. This is at a time when there is tremendous burnout resulting from long hours on the front line during these long days, fighting against COVID-19. Our MLA Miranda Rosin sent me a long letter promising no front line nurses would be laid off. That gives little comfort to the hundreds and hundreds of nurses that work "behind the line."
Nurses are talking about the possibility of taking strike action. Nurses are talking about throwing in the towel, leaving the profession. Beds are being closed in emergency rooms due to a shortage of staff. In some rural areas family doctors are no longer able to provide coverage in the emergency rooms at night.
Ms. Rosin bragged the government was saving $600 million by finding efficiencies within health care system and all of that money will be reinvested in health care, which sounds like code for more privatization.
Making nurses the scapegoat will not likely raise him up in any opinion polls, as Kenney keeps sliding down that slippery slope. I don't know what reincarnation he can come up with.
Ending with a little levity. Kenney has announced he is jumping on board, joining TC Energy Corp. in suing the American government for $15 billion. They face a very expensive and daunting challenge. Please Jason, leave things be.