A Postcard from the valley of the Alberta Economic Summit
11:30, February 9th, 2013: after having deployed a banner “Cut Royalty Breaks, Not Social Programs” at the invite‐only “Alberta Economic Summit” hosted by the Alberta Government at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
Well, it wasn't so difficult for a few of the uninvited to get into the invite‐only summit. What was difficult was to hear what was little more than the manufacturing of consent for pipelines, regressive taxes, and austerity for all but the wealthy. There was close to no talk of corporate socialism, the 10's of billions in economic rent being GIVEN away every year to Big Oil and their financiers, or a shift to green energy development. Not at all surprising considering it was a mere appendage of the oil companies and financiers who organized it: "our" Alberta Government. Also receiving absolutely no mention were climate change, violations of first nations' treaty rights, overheating of the economy (yes, Dutch Disease), foreign ownership of resources, capital flow out of the country, or the unmitigated democratic deficit. Some questions and statements from the audience (Dan Meade, Guy Smith) brought some of these issues to the fore, even though they were mostly ignored in favor of the acceptable narrative.
We were kindly escorted out; many, many more weren’t even invited to participate. I imagine there wasn’t enough continental breakfast to go around. Perhaps the narrative was expanded later in the program. But who was listening anyway?
So, what will it take for Canadians to receive a decent economic rent from the current resource ‐ let alone a fair one, transition quickly to a real green and blue economy (that includes social dignity and economic diversity), and establish the roots of a participatory democracy? What will it take for there to be justice and immediate amelioration of impacts of Tarsands and coal development and the "Calgary Consensus" foreign policy not just for Albertans and Canadians, but for indigenous peoples and affected communities around the World? After all, there isn’t one of us that remains unaffected adversely by climate change and the crush of empire. In solidarity from the stirring sidelines, Tavis Ford
Photo: Meghan Grant (@cbcmeg)
11:30, February 9th, after having deployed a banner “Cut Royalty Breaks, Not Social Programs” at the invite-only “Alberta Economic Summit” h...