Death, Taxes and Oil prices.
Considering that RWN is a site dedicated to Canadian Conservatism, you’ve likely arrived at the conclusion that we’re based out of Alberta… and you would be correct in this assumption. So, like our fellow Albertans, we will now be paying more to drink, smoke, go for a drive, go camping or do pretty much anything else that could be viewed as pleasure or luxury. 
Essentially Alberta is broke. The causes are numerous, but let’s take a quick look at one of the most pronounced: the political party that has composed the provincial government, without interruption, since 1971: the Progressive Conservatives (PC). A decade ago the PC party was the shining example of ‘right-of-centre’ politics. Klein was in power, Alberta was debt free and was viewed by many as the economic lifeblood of the entire country.
Ten years later, we find ourselves wading through a quagmire of bureaucratic scandals, egregious overspending and the creation of government divisions so monstrously absurd that it’s hard to even comprehend!
Just a few of the many recent examples:
- $330,000 in funding directed towards a ‘trip scout’ task force. This division was responsible for advance travel to locations the Premier was expected to visit for the purpose of ‘sussing out suitable bar patios and advising on the state of public toilets’. 
- Albertans footing the bill for massive personal MLA expense bills slipped in as ‘legitimate public spending’  
- Alberta Health Service. A government creation that employs almost 120,000 people with a budget of just under 20 Billion dollars. And this in a province with a population of just four million. 
Honestly, I could shoot bullet points at this page all day. But to sum it all up, the current state of Alberta politics (specifically in regards to the Progressive Conservative party) is quite simply, an out of control farce.
I have no doubt that the upcoming election will witness vapid Alberta voters finally taking a stand. We, undoubtedly, will see the Wild Rose, a true blue conservative party, placed into power and the bloated PC’s (conservative only by namesake at this point) driven out of the province on a rail. Danielle Smith will take up her rightful position in the Premier’s office and we can finally get… wait… Oh…
The PC Party has an absolute monopoly on leadership in Alberta. We have a government that hasn’t been held up to any sort of scrutiny in decades. Believe it or not: with boundless authority, little to no accountability and no opposing checks or balances in place, they have managed to run the whole province ashore.
The PC’s believe that the obvious course of action to traverse this mess is simply trimming some fat and raising taxes across the board. The muscled Atlas-esque arms of the middle class will carry the province through once again. Sounds fair, and it may have actually worked if Alberta’s current economic outlook wasn’t so disastrous. Unless tax hikes increase exponentially it will never be enough.
They just don’t seem to get it, and why would they? I think all middle class bourgeois would agree that government irresponsibility and callous disregard for (over)spending has played a major role in the current crisis. The bloated provincial PC government has been instrumental in misdirecting Alberta towards another fiscal cliff.
The fact of the matter is, the Progressive Conservative party has failed Alberta and failed to diversify the provincial economy in any way. Our economy is, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, almost entirely supported by oil. No quantity of minor government cutbacks or “Sin Taxes” will make up for the nearly $10 billion lost this past year as a result of fallen oil prices.
So how do we fix it? Well, if it’s come down to oil prices alone we can’t!
Enter the house of Saud. Saudi Arabia may not be a military super power but they do control one of the most effective weapons in the modern age. The oil bludgeon. The world’s dependence on Saudi oil and the Saudis massive oil production capabilities allow them to wield tremendous power. They can arbitrarily choose to cut production and raise prices or greatly accelerate production and flood the market. They control the horizontal… and the vertical
We’ve seen this weapon used to devastating effect in the last few decades. 1973: In a effort to punish the U.S.A. for supporting Israel, Saudi Arabia cut production and raised prices, leading to the ‘1973 oil crisis’.  Then again in 1998, Saudi Arabia intentionally plummeted oil prices for the sole purpose of bankrupting Russia. They succeeded and Russia was forced to default on its debts. 
Now in 2015 we’re witnessing this weapon’s awesome power again.
Middle Eastern conflicts have always been extremely complex. In essence Saudi Arabia despises Iran, loathes Syria and by association Syria’s key ally, Russia. In fact it’s safe to say that a lot of the strife in the Middle East, including the current kerfuffle with the Islamic State, is in some way related to the current full blown proxy-war raging between the Saudis and Iran.
What do Russia, Syria and Iran all have in common? They’re all primarily oil-based economies and extremely vulnerable to oil prices. The house of Saud knows they could never win a flat out military engagement, but they don’t actually need to.
By simply unleashing weaponized oil prices they have almost totally devalued the Russian Ruble and nearly bankrupted the entire Russian private sector. Iran has lost nearly half of their country’s annual income, prompting the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to denounce the falling oil prices as a “conspiracy against the interests of the region, the Muslim people and the Muslim world” and stating that it’s “politically motivated.’
No weapon of that scale can be used without collateral damage. That’s where we find Alberta, deep in the heart of the fallout zone, our proverbial Geiger counter pointing consistently into the red.
For Alberta, there seems to be no reprieve in sight. The Saudis have already made it clear that they will not be budging an inch. The Saudi oil minister was recently quoted as saying “I don’t care if prices crash to $20.” 
If that becomes the case, we’d better all start stockpiling our liquor now so we have something to drink while we learn how to wrap bindles.