Grounds For Separation, Part 2

The Devastating Impact.

6. Unemployment Rate

In February of this year, Calgary once again reclaimed the title of Highest Canadian Metropolitan Unemployment, reaching 7.6%, edging out St. John’s, Nfld where the rate remained a steady 7.4%.

It spent most of 2016 and part of 2017 on top of this list before it got a reprieve, but it would top the list again early in 2019. The unemployment rate in Calgary rose and fell in a gentle slope on a line chart. It covers the period of time that most people would have been eligible for unemployment benefits. The fact that the rate fell by no means that those unemployed found work, it only means that their benefits have run out and they are no longer technically “unemployed” for statistical purposes.

By all accounts there are over 200,000 unemployed in Alberta at this moment. Many of them worked in or relied on the energy industry for employment. Based on anecdotal evidence there is a very large population of unemployed geologists and land men in Alberta right now. These were good paying professional jobs, and now many of these geologists have no more savings, the unemployment ran out years ago, had to sell their homes and vehicles, and are now on the verge of economic ruin. Men who previously made $100,000 a year are now begging to flip burgers for $15/hr.

Many energy companies now no longer operate in Alberta due to the fact that it is no longer feasible for them to do so. Policies put in place by the provincial and federal governments have scared off investment in Alberta, leading to the increase in unemployment in the energy sector.

7. Bankruptcies

Between 2014 and 2018 the number of personal bankruptcies and consumer proposals in Alberta jumped an incredible 76%, going from 8,281 in 2014 to 14, 555 in 2018. Comparatively, the national rate rose by a mere 5.8%.

Alberta business bankruptcies during the same period rose by 46% going from 141 in 2014 to 206 in 2018, while nationally the amount actually decreased by 15% going from 4,219 in 2014 to 3,580 in 2018.

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/h_br01011.html

8. Income Support

In Alberta, the Income Support program provides assistance to low-income individuals and families. Child and health care, subsidies, and income assistance are among the services available. Households are categorized according to group: Single, Single with One or More Children, Couples, and Couples with One or More Children.

These are then further categorized by;Expected to Work(ETW):Unemployed and Able to Work, Unemployed and Unable to Work (ie. due to Illness, caring for family, etc.) and, Barriers to Full Employment(BFE) in which recipients are unable to work due to chronic long-term illness. The amount of benefits available depends upon marital status, number of dependants (if any), and, level of ability to work.

Starting in the year 2014, I measured the number of households receiving income support benefits in the month of July, until the current year where I measured the month of January.

A massive increase.

In July of 2014 there were a total of 33,522 households receiving assistance. By January of this year that number had nearly doubled to 59,940.

The number of people who were not working but were available to work skyrocketed from 5,820 in 2014 to 21,745 in 2019, more than three times what it was four and a half years before. Those unavailable to work rose by 50% going from 7,979 in 2014 to 12, 338 in 2019.

The segment of the population hardest hit has been single people. In 2014, of the 33, 522 households on benefits, 22, 037 were single individuals or 66%. In January they accounted for 69% of the 59,940 households collecting benefits. This would be an increase of 79% over 2014.

9. Crime

During periods of economic instability, crime rates tend to increase. This is no more evident than in Calgary, where crime rates soared in 2015 following the collapse in oil prices. In the years that followed, although the rates have stabilized, they remain high and show no signs that they will be coming down.

Crimes across virtually every category rose sharply in 2015. Naturally there were significant increases in “the usual suspects”, Property Crimes, Theft, Robbery, and Domestic Violence. There has also been an alarming increase in the number of violent crimes as well, especially in the number of assaults. There has also been a disturbing increase in the number of assaults on police officers.

They are categorized as 1) Social Disorder, 2) Property Crime (Theft, B&E, Robbery, Vehicle Theft, Fraud) and, 3) Person Crime (Assault, Domestic Assault, and Sex Offenses.

I will be providing more details in another post addressing Calgary crime statistics.

9.1 Social Disorder 2014 – 2018

Social Disorder calls are the ones police respond to the most in a typical day. They include such things as: Drunk, Disturbance, Indecent Act, Juvenile Complaint, Landlord/tenant, Mental health concern, Neighbor dispute, Party complaint, Prowler, Suspicious person, Threats, Drugs, Noise complaint, Possible gunshots, Unwanted guest/patron, Prostitution, Speeder, Suspicious Auto (grouped as Social Disorder), Fire, Property damage and Abandoned auto (grouped as Physical Disorder). 

Defying my expectations, the number of Social Disorder calls fell for the first time in nearly five years. It wasn’t alot, roughly one percent, but at least it is moving in the right direction. Among the complaints seeing the most significant deceases year over year were:

  • Disturbance – 348 (8.8%)
  • Drugs -104 (13.2%)
  • Intoxicated Persons -128 (13.7%)
  • Landlord/Tenant Issue -70 (7.6%)
  • Noise Complaint -115 (9.3%)
  • Party Complaint -56 (13.2%)
  • Speeder -33 (13.2%)
  • Suspicious Vehicle -412 (10.8%)
  • TOTAL SOCIAL DISORDER: -910 (1%)

9.2 Property Crimes: B&E, Theft, Vehicle Theft 2014-18

There was a large spike in property crimes in 2015 as unemployment began to rise. The increase in drug use, especially crystal meth, has contributed to them remaining at high levels, placing further strain on police resources.

Between 2014 and 2018: Break & Enters rose 68.7% (3,994), Thefts increased 50% (9,903), and Vehicle thefts were up by 44.5% (2,131).

9.3 Person Crimes: Robbery, Assaults, and Sex Offenses 2014-18

Crimes against people didn’t see the dramatic increases in 2015 as property crimes did. There has however been a steady increase in the number of these crimes, especially the number of assaults and sex offenses.

Between 2014 and 2018 the total number of Assaults rose by 51% (3,037) while Sex Offenses were up by 63% (490). Among assaults, the number of assaults against police is seeing a dramatic increase, up 79% (150).

In 2018 Sex Offenses were up by a dramatic 63% over 2014 (+490).

10. Suicides

Sadly, the spike in the number of suicides in Alberta in 2015 was also to be expected, as the number of people who took their own lives rose by 22% over the previous year. The biggest increases occurred in 5 age groups: 25-29, 40-44, 45-49, 55-59, and 65-69.

A similar statistic is seen in Saskatchewan at the same time. Information from the Government of Saskatchewan shows that suicides rose by 27% in 2015 over 2014. Most significantly, the number of men rose by 43% year over year. This trend was not seen on other provinces, however there were other trends evident in other provinces, and at different times.

The suicide rate in Alberta, and likely everywhere else, is not a true representation of the number of suicides. I can say this with certainty because recently somebody I knew committed suicide, and their death was ruled an overdose. Had a complete death investigation done I’m confident the correct determination would have been made, but such investigations cost money and often aren’t done. Many suicide deaths are wrongly attributed to overdose, accident, or misadventure.

https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/alberta-suicide-stats-region-age/

Conclusion

The human impact of the economic crisis in Alberta has been immense. With over 200,000 unemployed, many for an extended duration, it is critical that steps be taken immediately to create an environment that will attract investment

Although Jason Kenney will do what he can to salvage the Alberta economy and get it moving forward again, the biggest impediment to a Alberta’s success is and will always be lack of pipeline access to a deep-water port. By opening up these markets, Alberta will ensure that it, and Canada, will receive the maximum benefit from Alberta’s resources.

Alberta’s fate is being left up to others to determine, and this has proven to be as disastrous in the past as it is now. The only way to end this is to either make some serious changes to the equaliztion formula (highly unlikely), or for Alberta to separate and control its own destiny (the best option).

The people of Alberta deserve better.

D.B.

Grounds For Separation

Alberta has ample grounds to walk away.

I started this blog back in January with the post “The Last Good Day”. It was intended to provide a thorough and comprehensive statistical view of life in Alberta, with an emphasis on Calgary.

In order to provide the best overall picture of the situation, I have chosen the statistics and information rerlating to a number of areas including:

  • Population
  • Federal Payments to Provinces
  • Oil Prices
  • Alberta Government Revenues
  • Downtown Calgary Office Space Vacancy
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Personal and Corporate Bankruptcies
  • Provincial Income Support Levels
  • Crime Rate in Calgary
  • Suicide Rate in Alberta

While these numbers may come as a shock to some, others simply will not care, engaging in schadenfreude at Alberta’s expense. For others nothing short of the complete destruction of Alberta would satisfy them.

This message isn’t for them. It’s for anyone who wonders why we in Alberta feel the way we do. This is why we are angry and so many of us are ready to break from Confederation. We have plenty of good reasons to want a better deal and if one isn’t forthcoming then the only alternative is to strike out on our own.

A joint effort.

To be fair, what has happened in Alberta isn’t solely Justin’s fault. Regressive job-killing policies and taxes on the part of former Premier Rachel Notley and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi have also contributed to the ruination of Canada’s former economic engine.

With Jason Kenney now at the helm in Alberta things will slowly atart to improve, but if justin Trudeau somehow manages to win in October, any hope of recovery will be ruined.

I told you what was going to happen.

Back in January I warned that if something didn’t happen to help the Alberta economy, and soon, the effects would soon be felt throughout the Canadian economy.

The latest economic numbers seem to be bearing this out, and soon, the numbers that are being seen in Alberta will be seen across the country. If Justin Trudeau and the rest of the Worst Canadian Government Of All Time aren’t voted out of office in October, Canada will become an economic basket-case.

1. Population

For reasons that confound me, more people continue to come to this province than leave it. All this is managing to do is add more stress to a system that is already strained. With continuing high unemployment, unless these people have jobs to come to Alberta for they will only be a drain on the social system.

Link to Q3 Alberta Population Report:

Click to access 2018-q3-population-report.pdf

2. Federal Payments to Provinces

Equalization and Transfer Payments

Major Federal Transfers

The Government of Canada provides significant financial support to provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis to assist them in the provision of programs and services. There are four main transfer programs: the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), the Canada Social Transfer (CST), Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing (TFF).

The CHT and CST are federal transfers which support specific policy areas such as health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, early childhood development and child care.

The Equalization and TFF programs provide unconditional transfers to the provinces and territories. Equalization enables less prosperous provincial governments to provide their residents with public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces, at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. TFF provides territorial governments with funding to support public services, in recognition of the higher cost of providing programs and services in the north.

https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/fedprov-eng.asp

Equalization and Total Federal Payments Charts 2012-2020

Ontario goes from receiving 21% of Equalization funding in 2012/13 and by 2019/20 that number would dwindle to 0%. Quebec would pick up Ontario’s share however as it goes from receiving 48% in 2012/13 to 66% in 2019/20

The total amount of federal support going to the provinces remains at a constant rate from year to year. What changes is the amount being distributed. In 2012/13 those payments totaled nearly $57 billion and have risen to over $78 billion in 2019/20, an increase of 72%.

3. The Price of Oil

The closing prices on May 6, 2019. WCS $49(US)/bbl. WTI $58.70(US)/bbl. A price spread of $9.70(US).


The benchmarks off of which our oil is priced are West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Western Canadian Select (WCS). WCS is the grade of crude produced by the oil sands. It is heavier, and not as easy to transport as the light and medium grades of crude oil, such as WTI, therefore goes for a lower price. The difference in price between WTI and WCS is called the “spread”.

The price difference can also be attributed to other factors, such as supply and demand. The price of WCS plummeted in relation to WTI in November of this year, and the spread hit an all-time high of $55(US)/bbl as inventory levels reached capacity. Over time, the lack of pipeline capacity has resulted in an over-supply of WCS, translating into a lower price.

There has been slightly less volatilty in the price since measures were put in place to reduce inventory levels, however the province is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to the lack of a pipeline to a deep water port.

4. Alberta Government Revenues 2013/14-2017/18

Fiscal 2015/16 saw a huge drop in resource revenue for the Province of Alberta, falling by 50% over 2014/15. Bitumen royalties fell from $5.04 Billion in 2014/15 to $1.22 Billion the following year. Crude oil royalties plummeted from over $2.2 Billion to under $700 Million and natural gas royalties fell from $989 Million to $493 Million. This would also translate into lower income tax revenue for the province.

While the amount of personal income tax collected fell slightly between 2014/15 and 2017/18, the amount of corporate income tax collected fell by over 40% over the period. The amount of fuel taxes rose by over 45% in 2015/16, due in large part to an increase in the provincial fuel tax in 2015.

The “sin taxes” collected also seem to tell a story. Albertans gambled less after 2015/16, drank more between 2013 and 2018, and seemed to be smoking about the same amount of tobacco. After realizing a budget surplus of $1.1 Billion in 2014/15, the Government of Alberta ran budget deficits totalling $25.1 Billion between 2015/16 and 2017/18. The forecast for 2018/19 is for a deficit of $7.5 Billion.

The one thing Alberta does have going for it right now is that Jason Kenney can set about making things right again, but we still don’t know the true extent of the damage the Notley regime did to the provincial finances. In any event, it’s going to take time.

The increase in fuel tax revenue was due to an increase in the tax rate by the Notley government.

5. Downtown Calgary Office Space

In Q1 of 2014 there was over 40 million square feet of downtown Calgary office space with a vacancy rate of 8.13%. The average rent for class “A” office space was $34 per square foot. In Q1 of 2018 there was close to 44 million square of downtown Calgary office space and the vacancy rate had jumped to over 27%.

The average rent for class “A” office space was down to $14 per square foot. Assuming the same vacancy rate and price per square foot over this period, this translates into a loss of $2 Billion in rental income, and a report released in March suggests the city has lost $250 million in tax revenue as a result of the decline in non-residential property values.


To Be Continued In Grounds for Separation, Part 2

The human impact of the crisis in Alberta with a look at unemployment, bankruptcies, income support, crime, and suicide. See the toll the last 5 years has taken.

As Convoy Reaches Parliament Hill, The Real Message Is Muted.

Media Focus On Yellow Vests Shows That A New Approach Is Needed.

Looks like a pack of loons to me.

Janice Copling

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/united-we-roll-protest-what-to-expect-downtown-this-week

Comments Section,Ottawa Citizen article, Feb. 19, 2019
The United We Roll convoy makes it to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The convoy that started out from Alberta on Valentines Day arrived on Parliament Hill this morning, joined by trucks from across the country. I wanted to see how the media were reporting this, so I looked at a variety of sites, and I was not surprised by much of what I read. That being said, it wasn’t all bad coverage, but the media bias in Canada is alive and well, and pushing an agenda based in fear.

The Big Three

Global, CTV, and CBC. Canada’s major fake news outlets had some differing takes on this story, though the CBC’s slant is clearly the most biased of the three. The Global and CTV News stories were the closest to being actual reporting, which frankly is refreshing.

CTV reported that 200 vehicles were involved, while Global put the number at “hundreds”. The CBC made no mention of the number of vehicles in their report.


On Tuesday morning, protesters parked approximately 200 vehicles in the streets surrounding Parliament Hill for a rally in front of the House of Commons.

Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTVNews.ca Staff  https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/convoy-arrives-in-ottawa-for-rally-following-cross-country-trek-1.4303118

Both CTV and Global made mention of the fact that trucks from Quebec and the Maritimes had joined in the protest, while the Mothercorp Commisar who wrote the CBC piece fails to mention this.


A group of like-minded protesters from Eastern Canada was expected to join up with them in Ottawa.


By Karen BartkoOnline Journalist  Global News https://globalnews.ca/news/4972392/truck-protest-ottawa-oil-policies/

The story on the CBC News website (author unknown) also contains judgmental statements such as “…controversial pro-pipeline movement..” and “..convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners…”, while the other two organizations refrained from being so blatantly prejudiced on this occasion, much to my surprise.


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer welcomed a controversial convoy bringing a pro-pipeline message to Ottawa today, assuring participants that “we’ve got your back.”

Unknown government chimp, CBC News
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/truck-convoy-red-deer-ottawa-arnprior-1.5024229

The Yellow Vests

The Yellow Vests play prominent in every story, and their role in the convoy varies depending on the point of view of the author, however it is quite clear that some see them as the organizers of the convoy, and that has detracted from the message the actual organizers wanted to get across.

A headline in the Montreal Gazette on Feb. 19th read “Trucks rolled in at a rally initiated by Yellow Vests Eastern Ontario”, while the grotesquely liberal Huffington Puffington Post (props to Mr. Rush Limbaugh for that one) ran a headline that read “Yellow Vest, United We Roll Aren’t Just A Pipeline Movement: Experts”. The gist of the article is that a horde of angry white nationalists from Alberta, driving in large, carbon spewing, climate killing trucks, have invaded Ottawa, and are spewing racism and islamo/homo/transphobia on the sacred grounds of Parliament Hill.


“A movement may try to distance itself and claim a project they think is innocent, but when you scratch the surface you realize it’s a vehicle of hate,” said Joseph. He described yellow vests as “a revisioned white nationalist, white supremacist movement.”


By Samantha Beattie, Huffer
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/02/19/yellow-vests-arent-just-a-pipeline-movement-experts_a_23673410/

It is in the comments section however, that you really get a feel for what people are thinking, at least what those people who felt strongly enough to actually write in anyways. The views of many who wrote in are summed up nicely by one woman, Janice Copling, whose comment on the story in the Ottawa Citizen was “Looks like a pack of loons to me”. While there were people who wrote in to defend the convoy, many saw it as just a bunch of angry racist rednecks who were out to stir up trouble.

Let The Editorializing Begin

Anyone who actually gives two shits about the issue and has a brain cell would know that the original purpose of the convoy was to draw attention to the fact that Ottawa needs to act on the pipeline issue IMMEDIATELY. The men and women in the convoy would otherwise be working right now, were it not for the current government of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau. Not only has it shown itself to be just as corrupt as Liberal government’s gone by, it has also proven to be perhaps the single most inept government in the history of Canada.

The message was muted by the presence of the Yellow Vests however, and this brings me to my thoughts on the Yellow Vest movement in Canada. Make no mistake, I fully support the vast majority of what the Yellow Vests are saying, with the exception of those beliefs espoused by the “fringe” elements of the movement.

I do not think that all left-leaning, liberal’s belong to or support Antifa, and so, similarly, I hope that you would not think that I’m a racist or neo-Nazi for espousing right-leaning conservative beliefs. I believe we need strict immigration controls, something that Canada is sorely lacking. This doesn’t mean I want to start putting muslim’s into internment camps, or deporting every person of colour that I see.

This Isn’t France

The reasons why Le Gilete Jaunes have proven to be an effective movement in France, are the same reasons that their Canadian compatriots have not, and will not achieve the same success.

First, the yellow vest has become ubiquitous in France, thanks to the law requiring them in all vehicles. They were ready at hand, bought and paid for, and, most importantly, symbolic of their cause. As you may recall, the protests in France began in response to an increase to fuel taxes, which of course directly affect vehicle owners. In Canada, the majority of people do not own a yellow vest, and it would require an outlay of cash (anywhere from $4 if you can find one at Dollarama, to $20 or more elsewhere). This tends to reduce support among those who can’t afford one, leaving them feeling left out.

The Yellow Toque’s. A Made In Canada Movement?

It’s probably safe to say that the vast majority of Canadians either have in the past, or currently own a toque, especially after the total load of bullshit that Mother Nature dumped on us in the form of the Polar Vortex. It might be safe to say that on a per capita basis, more people in Canada wear toque’s than people in France wear yellow vests. I know it wouldn’t be the best choice for summertime protesting, but I really can’t think of anything more Canadian than a toque for this.

The lack of a cohesive message is the other thing that differentiates the Yellow Vests. Here in Canada, the myriad of issues lends itself to confusion. They are essentially protesting everything all at once, which, while it shows that we have a LOT to complain about, doesn’t provide the specific focus it will need in order to garner greater success.

The Fight Must Go On

As Canadian’s, we’re still fairly new to the whole protest movement thing, especially those of us on the conservative side of things. We don’t have years of experience in protesting against out government, unlike many Europeans.

It is funny, and at the same time very sad, that one would aspire to put on a protest like those many we’ve seen held in European cities. Tens of thousands filling the streets at once, signs made, songs ready to be sung, flags being waved. I would prefer going without the tear gas and water cannons that are often synonymous with Continental demonstrations, but it would be foolish to expect otherwise.

The stakes are simply too high to stop now. Justin Trudeau and his minions in the Liberal caucus are a detriment to Canada. We knew of the ineptitude of this government, and now we have proof that corruption is ingrained in Liberal DNA. Allowed to remain in office, they will finish destroying the Alberta economy, which will precipitate an economic disaster that will be felt from coast, to coast, to coast.

DBC

Post Script

To see what the Crisis in Alberta looks like by the numbers, follow this link. You’ll begin to understand what it is that has turned us into “Angry Albertan’s”https://onecalgaryvoter.com/2019/01/07/the-last-good-day-2/