Since being elected nearly one year ago, the NDP has certainly seen much in the way of contempt from many Albertans.
Petitions have been circulated calling for the resignation of Premier Rachel Notley, protests have been held and she has even received death threats over the last number of months.
According to social media, the party is being blamed for pretty much all of Alberta’s woes – whether the criticism is warranted or not and regardless of what the party inherited from the Conservatives. A facebook page dedicated to the NDP’s demise called ‘Albertans against the NDP’ now has 31,311 members who are pointing out the party’s every misstep – that can’t be a hopeful sight for Notley.
It’s important to remember that last May Albertans seemed pretty fed up with the Tories and were ready to embrace change. Well it seemed as quick as the day after the election, that perspective for many Albertans changed almost immediately.
And now even out province citizens are chiming in. It’s no secret that Canadian finance giant Kevin O’Leary has not been a fan of Notley. According to news reports he has recently stated he will funnel $1 million into Canadian oil industries if Notley throws in the towel.
“I mean no disrespect when I say this, but here’s my offer: I’ll invest $1 million in Canadian energy companies if out of grace and for the absolute good of Canada the premier of Alberta resigns,” O’Leary told Newstalk 1010’s Live Drive radio program. “I wouldn’t touch them now because she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Please step down, please, do it for Canadians.”
During the radio show he also laid the blame for the province’s economic trouble and massive layoffs on what he calls the inexperience of Notley’s government. The unemployment rate for Alberta in December sat at 7.0% up from the 4.7% rate that was registered a year earlier.
“The Alberta government is in free fall, there’s total chaos there,” he said. “It’s like a horror movie, it’s an unbelievable series of events.”
We agree with O’Leary in that in Alberta’s tough economic time, it’s perhaps not best to be making hasty decisions which is what the NDP government has been criticized for in their approval of Bill 6 and the new carbon tax proposal, among other decisions.
Albertans want slow and steady in these times – when oil has plummeted to nearly $30 a barrel U.S. and the Canadian dollar sits a 70 cents on the U.S. dollar.
To be fair, Notley has taken on a province in which the oil and energy sector has always reigned supreme and much of the current economic state is due to international matters that are beyond the scope of the province. We all know Alberta’s economy should have been diversified to at least some degree decades ago. And now with slumping oil prices and no end in sight, Albertans are really feeling the pressure. But now is not the time for the government to introduce new legislation that will further hurt or is even perceived to meddle with economic well being.
Little do we know what really lies ahead in the coming months – experts are all over the map when it comes to predictions with the price of oil and the industry as a whole. Some say we will begin to see a small upswing at the end of 2016 while you hear others say there will never be a recovery to levels of the past and that Albertans will possibly be entrenched in this down spiral until 2020. Who knows, it’s anyone’s guess.