Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alberta handing out cash to teens

Oil cash for teens.

So it seems that 13 year olds in Alberta (and other teens) will be getting $400 from Alberta as part of the "$1.4-billion “rebate” shared by every man, woman and child in Alberta because of soaring oil and gas prices." Now, I don't have a particular use for this money that I'd advocate and it's not for the rest of the country to tell Alberta what to do with its provincial coffers. But somehow the prospect of teenagers buying Ipods and clothes with this money seems a little obscene. It just doesn't create a lot of goodwill in the rest of the country.

I recall Klein's announcement of late that Alberta will fund students across the country to the tune of @$650,000 per year as a gesture of goodwill, no doubt meant to blunt growing concerns about a fiscal imbalance among the provinces as a result of Alberta's wealth and allow for this $1.4 billlion rebate to occur, perhaps, under cloak of this gesture:
The scholarships complement the education and training priorities set by all Canadian premiers at their Council of the Federation meeting in Banff this summer. They also follow suggestions by influential Queen's University economist Tom Courchene, who has urged Alberta to start voluntarily funnelling some of its budget surpluses into other provinces through the council. Courchene fears Canada could become fatally imbalanced if too much talent and capital flow into booming Alberta.
What would be welcome from Alberta would be a more deft sense of national leadership and recognition of the sensitivities that are being created from such displays of wealth.