Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: Part VI
Friday, January 31, 2020

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

Concrete evidence of the surge of Conservative strength, has been the series of annual meetings in Edmonton and Calgary. Lots of enthusiastic people … young and old … newcomers and old-timers … exciting … stimulating … productive.

From as far as Milk River on the Alberta-Montana border and Spirit River in the north have come delegates and observers from every walk of life who reflect all Alberta. They listen; they argue; they vote; they work; they visit — they participate. Close to 1,800 persons participated at the Annual Meeting in January of 1971 to make it one of the largest, most enthusiastic political gathering held in Alberta. And all returned home with folders full of fresh ideas and a renewed conviction that their Party will not be denied much longer.

At these gatherings, Peter Lougheed’s impressive leadership qualities become evident. He personally greets each delegate — and listens to what he has to say. Each year his impact on the assembly is a little greater. His performance on the “hot seat” (an innovation of the last several conventions) demonstrates his agile mind, his amazing grasp of issues. His jaw as he speaks of Government complacency and his determination to make Alberta great.

And still the Party continues to grow. Broad membership, active functioning committees and a complete knowledge of Alberta and its people are the result of six years of hard work and relentless drive by the Leader and his continually expanding group of like-minded supporters. People want to be where the action is. In Alberta, the action is with the Progressive Conservative Party.

Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: Part V

Categories: History,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

Momentum increased as the nominating began. Following the ’67 election, the lament of so many second-place PC candidates had been: “If only I’d had more time!” Publication on December 1st, 1969, of the 75 proposed, redistributed provincial election boundaries (creating ten new constituencies), triggered a spate of nominations. Determined not to be caught napping by any snap election call, constituency organizations hastened to regroup and launch their nominees.

In most cases, the problem was no longer to find a suitable candidate but to choose one from among a number of outstanding contenders. The concept of an “open party” was dramatically demonstrated on a number of occasions when large gatherings of people saw Provincial Party officials of long standing lose contested nominations. Here was proof that this, indeed, was a truly representative party with no automatic rewards for faithful service.

A crowd of over a thousand packed the Camrose Lutheran College auditorium to see four fine candidates fight for the right to represent them. Such turnouts for nomination meetings were previously unheard of — another indicator of the excitement generated by this party on the march.

By the February opening of the 1971 Legislature, almost 60 Progressive Conservative candidates were off and running, with more waiting to join them. The target: a full slate at election time.

A winning candidate’s campaign begins from the moment of his nomination. With the losing contender’s full support there is no relaxing of effort until election day. All the experience and expertise of his Conservative colleagues are at his disposal. He will have attended a series of five policy conferences in Red Deer, Camrose and Lethbridge, at which his views and the particular concerns of his constituents have been put forward. Regular regional candidate meetings will have provided opportunity for valuable exchanges of information with the Leader and others. Climaxing this intensive preparation is a series of Candidate Conferences to finalize the platform and plan a winning strategy.

Continued in Part VI

Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: Part IV

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

At the same time as the Opposition seats in the Legislature were filling, the Conservative Party mailing lists were growing. It was recognized that the key to forming a government was a strong local organization in each constituency. Immediately after the 1967 provincial election, Party officials went to work. In some remote areas it was actually necessary to walk the length of a town, knocking on doors in hopes of finding a Conservative sympathizer willing to pioneer a local PC organization.

The task grew easier as Peter Lougheed and his fellow MLA’s indicated their desire to truly represent the people by embarking on a series of fact-finding tours. Their first trip, following the 1968 legislative session, took them to the Peace River country. A second tour in June, 1969, covered 22 communities in east-central Alberta. The group met with mayors, town councils, chambers of commerce, farm and labour groups in wide-ranging dialogue on a multitude of concerns. The reaction was rewarding: “For the first time in years, Opposition MLA’s (let alone Government MLA’s) have taken the trouble to come to our community and listen to our problems.”

A third tour in the fall of 1969 gave the MLA’s an awareness of the concerns unique to southern Alberta. During this period these men were also taking on as many speaking engagements as their heavy schedules would allow. By June, 1970, Peter Lougheed could say: “I have now visited virtually every community in Alberta.”

A series of regional conferences also carried the Conservative point of view to Albertans and gave them opportunity to shape Conservative policy. Workshops provided prospective candidates and constituency executives with fresh ideas for attracting members and keeping interest keen.

With a limited budget, it was impossible for the Party to maintain a large staff. Onlookers marvelled at how so much could be accomplished. The secret lay in the quality of the volunteer committees which substituted for a paid staff.

The lines of authority spread from a provincial executive through regional directors to the individual constituency organizations. The work of these groups was supplements by the activities of a dedicated women’s organization, two live-wire youth organizations and special “task forces” who filled in in areas where the Party was initially weak.

The structure was typical of any political organization. What was unique was the enthusiastic participation of extremely able people from every segment of the population and every area of the province.

Backing up these efforts were the talent-filled special committees handling finance, communications, membership, convention organization, policy, election strategy. And always, the most significant factor in the whole building process — the tireless drive of the leader.

Continued in Part V

Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: Part III
Thursday, January 30, 2020

Categories: Government,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

The original “Lougheed team” — Don Getty, Dr. Hugh Horner, Lou Hyndman, Dave Russell and Len Werry — was impressive in terms of brain power and achievement in other areas. Each man was assigned as watchdog to at least three government departments. In terms of legislative experience, (except for Hugh Horner) the official Opposition was incredibly green. Frequently, the earnest young MLA’s were not alert enough to exploit Government weaknesses. Wisely they decided that their strategy in the first session should be extensive use of “the Question”. For the first time in decades, the Government, previously accustomed to the uninhibited passage of its bills through the legislative mill, suddenly found its activities and financial statements minutely scrutinized. The taxpayers of Alberta became better informed and the Conservative legislators learned much in the process. The disturbing Socred trend to “government by cabinet” was reversed as the Conservative MLA’s restored the legislative process.

Then Ernest Manning retired as Premier of Alberta. A Socred leadership convention elected Harry Strom to succeed him. When the 1969 legislative session opened, the new Premier found opposite him a row of seasoned, well-informed MLA’s. Repeatedly they attacked the Government for its wastefulness, its mishandling of such issues as construction of the Bighorn Dam, the compulsory medicare program, and the Blair Report on mental health.

By the time Lieutenant-Governor Grant MacEwan read the throne speech at the opening of the 1970 legislative session, the Conservative opposition occupied nine seats. Bill Yurko, an Edmonton engineer, had snatched Premier Manning’s former seat from under the noses of the astounded Social Creditors to become the seventh Conservative MLA. October, 1969, saw the same combination of an outstanding candidate supported by a strong, hard-working organization, win the Edson by-election for the Conservatives. Even the crystal-ball gazers of the media who had confidently billed this as a two-way fight between the Socreds and the NDP, were astounded when Jasper druggist, Bob Dowling, emerged as the victor — and the eighth member of the Opposition. The following month, veteran MLA Bill Dickie gave up his status as lone Liberal in the House to join the PC’s. In June, 1970, rancher Clarence Copithorne, sitting as Independent member for Banff/Cochrane constituency, became the tenth man on the team.

The 1970 session of the Alberta Legislature found the Social Credit representatives somewhat nonplussed by the new tactics of their opponents. While continuing to slam Government inefficiency, the Conservative team balanced its hard-hitting attack with a constructive program of its own. In all, 21 Conservative-sponsored bills were placed before the House. None ever reached the statute books but Albertans were made aware of the positive new direction in which this irrepressible young team was headed. Finally a real alternative had emerged.

Continued in Part IV

Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: Part II

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

Though still not strong in terms of organization, the Conservatives were able to support 46 candidates in 65 ridings. In the less populated constituencies strength had not yet developed to any significant degree but in the larger centres enthusiasm became so contagious that many who had never been involved in politics before volunteered their help. Such help was invaluable as candidates walked literally miles to visit constituents in their homes and made themselves available to speak to groups wherever there were voters to listen to the Conservative alternative.

The turning point in the election came during a forum at McDougall Church in Edmonton when, for the first time, the four Party Leaders appeared on the same platform together. Here it became very clear that Peter Lougheed was a formidable challenger to Premier Ernest Manning. His logic was sound — his oratory was equally moving. Mass rallies in Calgary and Edmonton were remarkable for their attendance and enthusiasm which carried over to election day.

When the polls closed on May 23rd, 1967, the voters of Alberta had given the Progressive Conservative party six seats in the Legislature — not much cause for celebration, one would think, when the Social Credit Party had retained 55 seats. But from nothing to six was a giant step forward, measured more accurately by the 27% of the popular vote gained by the PC’s as compared with the Socred’s 44%.

Continued in Part III

Progressive Conservatism In Alberta: Part I
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics


Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

The Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta in 1965 had no leader and no seats in the Alberta Legislature. What little active support it still held was more apparent during Federal elections than during Provincial campaigns. That year a Provincial leadership convention was held in Edmonton. It was a scene which had been re-enacted regularly throughout the half century during which the Conservative voice had never been more than a squeak of protest in the Legislature. This time, however, the Party chose the 36-year-old Peter Lougheed to recruit and direct its Provincial forces against the firmly entrenched Social Credit Government.

Jeanne & Peter Lougheed

Jeanne & Peter Lougheed

Peter Lougheed was one of the few men who could have acted as a catalyst to his almost moribund Party. As a third-generation Albertan and grandson of Alberta’s first P.C. Federal Cabinet Minister, he received the loyalty of the Party “regulars”. As an imaginative and determined leader, he was able to attract new members to the Conservative Party — men and women of ability who shared his goal of routing the complacent Social Credit Party and replacing it with a government capable of fully developing the Province’s great potential.

What Do We Stand For?

On that March weekend in 1965, the Conservative cardholders were few and Party organization practically non-existent. By the following January, many new faces appeared at the annual meeting at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary and the revitalization of the Party was beginning to be evident. It was at this meeting that the “Guideposts” were introduced — those twelve statements of Progressive Conservative principle which have remained unchanged as the basis of Party direction. But it was not until the provincial election in the spring of 1967 that the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta emerged as the coming force in Alberta politics.

Continued in Part II

Unpromising Party. An Impossible Task.
Friday, July 10, 2015

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

“Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it’s interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible. You can make predictions, and a year later people won’t remember them.”—Daniel Kahneman

Usually, I save the above quote for political pundit, Stephen Carter, but, in the following instance, it seems to work just as well.

“I think the PCs could end this real quick by folding up their tent.”—Brock Harrison, Right-Wing Political Strategist*

For the sake of posterity, I have put the following quote in my calendar and dated it—July 8, 2016. A year from now.

Who knows, he may well be correct. But, if he isn’t, I can remind him … for posterity’s sake.

Predicting the inevitable demise of an adversary can often lead to chewing on one’s words, as John Markoff, New York Times, reminded us in an article dated January 16, 2006:

In 1997, shortly after Mr. Jobs returned to Apple, the company he helped start in 1976, Dell’s founder and chairman, Michael S. Dell, was asked at a technology conference what might be done to fix Apple, then deeply troubled financially.

“What would I do?” Mr. Dell said to an audience of several thousand information technology managers. “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

On Friday, apparently savoring the moment, Mr. Jobs sent a brief e-mail message to Apple employees, which read: “Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn’t perfect at predicting the future. Based on today’s stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.”

We are reflecting today.

After almost 110 years, PC Alberta has seen better days. But, like the province, born on the very same day in September 1905, the character and pride of serving has never diminished. The canvas is scarred, but the fabric is battle-worn and strong.

Farmers, doctors, lawyers, tradespeople, students, and people of all backgrounds have made up its membership. And, for eleven decades, it has faithfully served the people of Alberta in government and opposition.

In 1965, Peter Lougheed recalled critics saying:

“We were an unpromising party with an impossible task.”

Fifty years later, Mr. Harrison and others are saying these things again.

Therefore, as we reflect, we must also strive to rebuild and renew.

In 1967, Lougheed challenged the Party to establish itself as the alternative to the government of the day.

He also spoke of the many Albertans who wanted to join the Party, but were looking for something first. But, what was it?

“They want to be assured that this is truly a “people’s party”. They want to feel they are welcome — That their views will be listened to — that there is a place for people of all ages — A place for people from every part of Alberta — from every walk of life — A place for people with a common philosophy. But prepared to accept different views as to how to apply such a philosophy — A party where there is leadership – executive responsibility – organizational procedure — But a party which is democratic — and welcomes new members – new ideas – has open meetings – open nominations – an absence of mystery or intrigue. That’s the kind of party my colleagues and I want — It’s the kind of a party the people of Alberta want us to be — I hope — better than that — I’m confident — it’s the kind of party you want.”

As of late there had been too much ‘mystery’ and ‘intrigue’. We had become disoriented and lost our way.

Not surprisingly, the people of Alberta howled:


We had stopped listening to Albertans and we had stopped listening to our members.

No more. This is a brand new day. We will listen.

In the future, all discussions within PC Alberta must involve the rank and file of our Party. The Members. The Grassroots. The People.

NOW! is not the time to quickly fold up the tent, as Mr. Harrison would have us do, but, instead, it is time to lift up the flaps and let some fresh air in.

Let it breathe. Listen to the ‘people from every part’ of the province.

There is true opportunity in defeat. A rebirth, if you will.

“We have the potential — we have the opportunity — we must realize our potential — grasp our opportunity.”—E. Peter Lougheed, 1967.

*“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”—Proverb 16:18

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part VII
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,Government,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part VI]

What are these current issues? I see them as seven challenges I want to conclude by setting them forth. The first one is to sustain sound financial management. You may think that is ho-hum but just look at the serious problem of government deficits and of peoples’ expectations. Figure out how hard it is going to be. We have to manage better with less! We have got to get away from this, “I am alright Jack point of view”. On one hand people urge us to spend more money on their favorite program but, on the other hand tell us to cut down on total government expenditures.

A key is public sector wage and salary settlements. Decisions have to be made in a way that recognizes what’s going on in the private sector. We have to constrain both now and in the future, wage and salary settlements in the public sector.

Keep in mind those two out of twelve months funded by the income from the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Let’s preserve the capital of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund! So, sound financial management, that is the first challenge.

Federal-Provincial Conference of First Ministers

Federal-Provincial Conference of First Ministers

The second challenge is tied directly to a leadership role in Canada. It isn’t just Alberta on this one because we can have a strong financial position. I tell you, if we keep going the way this country is going in terms of health care costs, Canada is going to end up a financial basket-case! We are going to have to show leadership. Yes, it is tough to show leadership when you are isolated at times but we have been there before. To show leadership in constraining health care costs in a multitude of ways, is a challenge not only for the immediate year, but for the years ahead. It requires the cooperation not only of the public, but of all of the people that are involved in the system. Do you know what is at stake? Just make a trip over to the United Kingdom and take a look at how their medical care system is working out. They now have two systems. Friends of Medicare – that is a bunch of nonsense. The real friends of medicare are the people that are trying to make sure that it is a financially sound system. The other Friends of Medicare just want to have a blank cheque. Do you know what’s going to happen, what is happening in the United Kingdom on that issue. Yes, you will have private insurance for those who can afford it and then you will have a less effective, less superior service for those who are involved in the system and can’t afford it. That is not what medicare is all about and I hope we will take that position.

The third challenge involves working with the private sector. Working together on new national economic policies. New national energy policies so that the crucial job producing oil and gas sector faces a tax system not more onerous than other industries in Canada. New national policies involving the marketing of our natural gas. It requires new freight rate approaches and strategies. It involves new ways of encouraging equity financing.

Another challenge is encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in the province. We have to cut out unnecessary regulations. We have to privatize public services that can be done better by the private sector and we have got to continue to have more dialogue and more good ideas and suggestions from the business groups in this province.

Another challenge is to make a major effort to involve more volunteers. To modify some of the bureaucratic ways, which have discouraged the volunteers, by cutting out the red tape – to challenge some of the existing community groups to become involved in more specific ways – to give them some ideas as to how they could help out, to find new roles for the volunteer in our government and its programs. So, another important challenge is a major effort in our past to get back to where the volunteers are the heart of the community.

The sixth challenge will be controversial. We must modify our school curriculum so the graduates of our educational system are able to compete in the new world marketplace. We have to change fifty years of the accepted view that the major decisions in the educational field should be made by the experts and not the public. That doesn’t mean we are not going to work closely with the people who work in the classroom. But, the ultimate decision making has to rest with the public at large through their elected legislators.

The final challenge of our country. There is only one real future potential for Canada in terms of jobs and prosperity and thus preserving our standard of living. We have to become not the fifth best traders in the world – we have to be the best traders in the whole world. Alberta has a role of leadership to play. This isn’t the sort of thing that is easy to explain but it can be realized for Canada. I don’t know any group in the world that travels more than Albertans. You run into them everywhere. Let’s harness all of this talent, input and knowledge, including from newcomers who have come here and from entrepreneurs who have travelled throughout various parts of the world. Canada has a great opportunity to be the effective traders. We have to change our educational programs in a way that focuses upon training people to be involved in international marketing. We have to find new approaches for business consortium. We have to find new approaches for selling not just our products but our services. We have to say to ourselves, we like those Americans but in the grain trade they are our keen competitors. We have to understand we like those Australians but they are our competitors. We have to go out there in the worlds and sell. Why is a provincial Premier talking about this? I’ll tell you why I am talking about it – because the challenge of the years ahead is a challenge that is going to require some leadership and I believe Alberta, not just myself, not just our government, not just our Party, but the whole province can provide that leadership. We can show the rest of the country how to be the best salesmen in the world.

So, let’s meet these new challenges with good spirit, with confidence and with determination. But, with better communication by all of us of our ideas, the reasons for our decisions and the facts to back them up. Let’s not forget how we got here as a Party – how we sustained the public confidence and how we need to remember our basic concepts and fundamentals in order to further sustain the confidence. We can do so if we remain an open Party, a democratic Party; if we respond pragmatically to the circumstances that we face. If we seek consensus and don’t force confrontation or polarization and if we keep moving – not away from – but towards the mainstream of Canadian life. Finally, we can do so if we as a Party stand behind something that is very dear to me as a principle, the principle of free enterprise, yes, but free enterprise that cares.

E. Peter Lougheed, Calgary, Alberta, March 31, 1984

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part VI
Monday, January 26, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,Government,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part V]

Now, I come to another concern. It is communication. This is a two way street. It is not just communication by 75 members of the Progressive Conservative Party that are elected – it must be communication by the 2100 delegates, by the 79 constituencies, by the total membership of the 79 constituencies. Do you know we did a poll recently? The poll had to do with the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. We asked the people of Alberta whether they agreed with the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. They responded overwhelmingly, yes. So, then we asked the people of Alberta – where does the money come from for the Heritage Savings Trust Fund? Over 50% of the people of this province think the Heritage Savings Trust Fund is funded from a gasoline tax at the pump. Think then about the communication job we have as a government Party. What am I trying to suggest? When an issue breaks, please don’t jump to conclusions. Ask the person, with due respect, what is the source of their information. Make your own judgement about that and then phone your M.L.A. and say, I just read a headline somewhere that said something. What are the facts? And when we send you the information, will you make yourself a personal commitment that with every document we send to you through the Party, you will actually read it – so you become not a headline reader, but a factual reader.

So in summary, where are we at now? The Party is in good shape. The economy is recovering. The province is stable and financially solid.

Well, how about me? First of all I am feeling really good. Jeanne is not only feeling good, she is looking good! I am enjoying the new challenges. I am enjoying them very much and I like working with this Party, so, that is where I am at.

So, where do we go from here? That is my last question. What lies ahead for our province? Very different challenges! In our first term in office we were involved in catch-up. In doing a lot of things our mandate for new directions required us to get done – such as improving the situation for the mentally ill, the handicapped and the disabled in improving the quality of rural life in our province – in a multitude of other ways it was catch-up time. Subsequently we were involved in big national issues. Energy and the Constitution. They were dramatic issues.

Lougheed & Trudeau

Premier Lougheed & Prime Minister Trudeau square off

Now we are involved in different issues and different challenges. Why are they different? Here are four reasons why they are different. First of all they are more complex. They require more reading, more awareness and more understanding. Secondly, a real key, the support just isn’t automatically there with our position like we had, for example, on the Constitutional issue, equality of the provinces. Support on the current issues involves not necessarily a negative reaction by many Albertans but, they need convincing. They need communicating. There isn’t automatic support – so there is a harder communication job ahead. The third difference – they are not black and white issues. They are not similar such as a Constitutional accord where you sign a document and there it is. No, the current issues are much more subtle. There are a lot of greys. Finally, in terms of results, it might take years for our logic to be readily apparent. But, the decision will have a long term impact on people that we represent. The current issues are different. They are not perhaps as dramatic but in the longer term they probably are as important.

Continued in Part VII

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part V
Saturday, January 24, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,Government,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part IV]

Now let me discuss about where we are at as a province! Let’s remember a basic reality. Alberta is a commodity resource producing area. What happens in Riyadh, Peking, London, New York and various parts of the world affect you today. We are part of the world scene. We are going to have our ups and downs. But, even with the variables we mentioned in our Budget – 1984 will be a year of economic recovery for Alberta. It is a year in which our oil and gas industry is poised for expansion. We should move ahead in terms of marketing our natural gas both domestically and in the United States. Many things are happening on the oil side that are exciting. I think the explorers are taking a second look at being dragged into the frontier area on 80¢ dollars. They are beginning to take another close look at the heavy oils, enhanced recovery projects and the oil sands here in Alberta. These things are happening. The entrepreneurship of this industry and the talented people are a tremendous asset.

Premier Lougheed

Premier Peter Lougheed

We also have a strong and stable agriculture industry. Yes, there are ups and downs but, the high productivity is there. This is so in a number of other industries as well. We have a highly competitive petrochemical industry and new opportunities in terms of high technology. We have many things going for us in terms of our Alberta economy.

What about unemployment? We have had an excessive immigration from other parts of Canada. It was far too rapid. We have also had overbuilding in the construction industry. We must adjust to this reality. We will therefore have unemployment at the national average for a period of time until we absorb the overbuilding in construction. Remember when people argue about construction jobs, let’s keep in mind what our budget of March 27 provides – we have, with only 2.3 million people, a $3 billion capital construction program. We lead the nation in terms of providing jobs in the construction industry. We have a budget that is responsive to the current economic realities.

What about Alberta’s medium term outlook? I liked Provincial Treasurer Lou Hyndman’s comment, “Alberta’s best days are ahead of us”. I really like it because I believe it so much. Just ask people who live in other parts of Canada and in other parts of the world. You take the resources, entrepreneurship, stability and you take the drive and the education system we have here – it is unparalleled in the world. Alberta’s best days are ahead of us!

Then, there is the budget of last week. I think it was a budget of balance. I want to just read the last paragraph. “In conclusion, this budget represents a sound financial strategy for Alberta, a strategy of balance. It balances the need to maintain essential people services with the need to constrain operating expenditure. It balances the desire to encourage steady economic recovery and employment growth with the recognition that lasting jobs are created by the private sector. It meets these objectives while at the same time holding down taxes, reducing significantly the deficit and our borrowing requirements. The result is a budget in tune with the times and with the aspirations, needs and expectations of Albertans”. I think it is one heck of a good budget.

Three supplementary comments about our Budget. Hidden in the small print there are some very caring items. We brought in a home care program in stages. The first part of the home care program helped the senior citizens who needed medical help in their home. The next step now is for other seniors in the home. Even if you cannot get a doctors certificate to the effect that you need medical care. So we have a major increase in our home care program to help the people who are frail and elderly. I believe that is an important example of a caring government.

It has always troubled us that we have year after year looked at our budget increases and wanted to reduce the total expenditure authorized. I am proud that for the first time in forty years, we have been able to reduce the aggregate amount of money that we ask the Legislature to approve. However, the Budget will only work if public sector wage settlements follow and do not lead settlements in the private sector. That is essential to the budget.

I just want to say one other word about the budget. Do you know that the income from the Heritage Savings Trust Fund will pay two of twelve months of the total government bill. Two out of twelve months in this coming fiscal year are paid from the income of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Did you know that the accumulated federal deficit, now in terms of their budget requires approximately 20% to 23% of the total revenue to service their debt? We are in a enviable position in our province of servicing our provincial debt with 1.8% of our revenues. We also have left for those who have come after us a lot of tax room for the future.

Let me now deal with a couple of current concerns. The expectations of people in this province were out of sight in 1980 – 1981. We have made some headway – expectations are being reduced. That is good but we have more work to do.

Continued in Part VI