Premier Prentice’s pay cut isn’t a true sacrifice

In these times of great economic woe and oil so cheap we could use it to flush our toilets, it’s becoming a struggle for the working man to make a living here in Alberta. With layoffs and cutbacks made throughout the oil industry, your average blue-collar citizens are finding themselves in a position where they have to make some sacrifices of their own.

Thankfully, however, they’re not in this alone. Your good old friend Premier Jim Prentice has generously spared us all from that horrid foreign idea of “Sales Tax,” and opted to slash his already meagre salary by a whole five per cent. It really is a good thing that we have him and the whole Conservative Party looking out for us. After all, it’s possible now that they’ve eradicated that pesky and unproductive opposition in the legislature. Prentice truly understands what we’re all going through.

It’s possible that the above may have been lost on you, as Prentice’s salary slash may have been lost on the average Albertan. But for the rest of the population, it’s really time that we see these sorts of governmental decisions as nothing but golden ideas from the conservative P.R. department working wonders as propaganda.

Let’s look a little deeper into Prentice’s most recent “for the people” decision of taking a five per cent wage cut. While this may seem significant — as it seems all too common that politicians only give themselves raises — the wage he was actually starting at has to be considered. Go back to 2008 when the same Conservative Party (Stelmach, Redford, Prentice – it’s the same team no matter who they make captain) gave themselves a generous 30 per cent wage increase. Sounds a lot like when a store claims they’re having a massive sale, but, in reality, only mark up the original price.

But honestly guys, Prentice is really struggling. He makes a skimpy $207k and just bought a collector’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird. Times are tough for us all.

It’s the sort of magic like this that litters nearly every action taken by Prentice since he took over as Premier. What’s ultimately just a shuffling of the cards is always played off as a generous decision for the people. The idea of — god forbid — hiking the taxes for the oil companies has been quickly shot down and justified through reasoning that we wouldn’t want to harm the “Alberta Advantage” that we hold so dear. It’s a bad idea to tax the oil companies when they’re suffering, but there’s no reason to increase taxation of oil companies when everything’s going okay. If that seems contradictory, it’s because it is. But when it’s said like this, it always seems like the right decision.

The same is said to anyone who challenges the insane flat tax that we have here as well. While logically, a flat tax is of the most benefit to the very wealthy, it seems that obviously lower income harming tax methods such as sales tax are considered first. It’s almost guaranteed that there is a statement in place if this is ever brought to the table, that will spin this towards the benefit of the lower and middle class.

With nearly everything the provincial government does, it seems to come down to being the truth because they say it’s the truth. It becomes harder and harder to criticize a government that convinces its population what it’s doing is right, and in the meantime avoids the obvious solutions to the problems at hand.

If we want to forward ourselves as a province and as a political entity, we must truly think critically instead of simply believing what we’re told. These are interesting and frightening political and economic times, and if we want to come out of it stronger we must push for the things that need to be done.

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