Jim Prentice, the recently elected Premier of Alberta, taking over the reins from Allison Redford, whose economic excesses, especially in lavish gifts presented to herself and her own family, recall the halcyonic days of Catherine the Great and Cleopatra…well, where was I? oh, yes, Mr. Prentice has apparently admitted that Alberta is living well beyond its means. I am glad that at least one political leader in our country is acknowledging stark economic reality, and we will see what he plans to do about it: Cut the bloated spending spree of our modern governmental regimes, or raise taxes even further?
So far, I have only read of his plan to introduce a sales tax to Alberta. So much for cutting spending. Of course, in the news this evening, the public sectors unions have refused any possibility of a wage-freeze, to contain their ‘unsustainable salaries’, as Mr. Prentice says, I presume including his own.
As things spiral on, apparently, somewhere in Alberta, a beautiful house was built for a zamboni to the tune of $832,000, but with no arena in which to utilize said zamboni. Maybe the zamboni can find a pretty zambona to produce little zambonettes and live off Albertan welfare; if not, I would not mind living in the fine wooden A-frame, which seems a shame to waste on an inanimate object. At least move some elk in there.
Back here In Ontario,’Environmental Commissioner’, Gord Miller, who looks a lot like the tv shrink Dr. Phil, with the same ‘calming’ hand gestures, and who also apparently knows how to solve our energy woes, wants to ensure Ontarians ‘conserve energy’ by reducing their use of electricity during what are dubbed ‘peak hours’. I am not sure how this reduces overall energy consumption, especially after the $2 billion spent on smart meters that don’t always work, but, well, whatever their intentions, they have a plan: As you are all likely aware, energy use in Ontario costs more during the day (peak hours) than the evening and early morning (off-peak), to incentivize off-peak use (they are currently on a 1 to 1.8 ratio). Well, after an examination of world-wide energy markets by their presumably well-paid energy consultants, the benighted Liberals have determined that this incentive between peak and off-peak only really works if the on-peak is four times more expensive than off-peak. I thought, well, maybe, just maybe, they will reduce off-peak rates by a fourth, and we could all happily save lots of money doing our laundry and blasting our furnaces around midnight, then, sipping my coffee, carefully brewed before 7 a.m., I woke up from my reverie. Ha, ha, of course, they will not only continue to raise off-peak rates, and then quadruple the on -peak costs, for an ever-more geometric increase in electricity rates. And they expect companies to move here?
Speaking of which, Target has suddenly decided to pull up stakes and move out of Canada, leaving hundreds of acres of empty stores, which served as anchors for many malls. Sic transit gloria Target. A sad day for the 17,500 or so employees about to be laid off, but I would not mind seeing these big-box stores going the way of the Brontosaurus, and getting back to small, family-friendly businesses, who know their local consumers, and who employ people much more efficiently.
I guess bad stocking practices (not a female sartorial fault!), empty shelves, and high prices did not do the trick. So, likely, we will all continue to buy China-made baubles from Amazon, delivered by drones. Why have stores at all? Or does the seller deserve his wages? Do we want to buy from real people?
Two climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, have conquered an uninterrupted free-climb of El Capitain Yosemite National Park in California, considered the most difficult rock face in the world, a sheer, smooth wall of granite the height of three Empire State buildings, and a feat long considered impossible. I like some good news stories of human courage and sheer doggedness. Humans are always striving to perfect themselves, and find new challenges to test their near-unlimited potential, one of the signs of our insatiable spiritual nature, very different from easily contented animals. Although I both love and hate heights, and of course could not attempt this climb unless I want to meet my God (even these experts fell numerous times, saved by their ropes), I have heard there is an eight-mile trail to the top, and the view, I am sure, would be a sheer delight. There is always great beauty to be found in this world, a reflection of the infinite glory of the Creator. Semper altius…
January 15, 2015