Gwyn Morgan, in case you missed it, is a far right-wing conservative oil man. He loves Ralph Klein and is a Trustee of the Fraser Institute and a Director of the Manning Center for Building Democracy.
The record of Ralph Klein speaks for itself.
The Fraser Institute's Mission Statement states, "Our vision is a free and prosperous world where individuals benefit from greater choice, competitive markets and personal responsibility." Among its board members is Peter Pocklington.
The Manning Center is headed by its CEO, Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party and son of Ernest, longtime Social Credit Premier of Alberta and convert to conservatism following the Leduc oil discovery. Part of the Mission of the Manning Center states that it "is commited to achieving a democratic society guided by conservative principles." Its literature also states that it "is commited to the support of issue campaigns that will increase public interest in and support for conservative-oriented ideas and policy proposals."
So Gwyn Morgan is a conservative.
He is so conservative that like many of his colleagues and fellow travelers, his memory often fails him. An example appeared in a Globe and Mail column on October 29, Populism tramples Principle in Alberta, in which he gave Premier Stelmach a good thrashing for increasing royalties to be paid by the oil and gas industry.
In referring to Klein near the beginning of his piece, Morgan wrote that when Ralph became Premier, "Alberta was suffering the after effects of Trudeau's national energy program followed by a prolonged slump in energy prices." A mere half of that statement is correct - the part about the slump in energy prices. The rest is hogwash. Some might even say it was pure bullshit.
First of all, the National Energy Program was introduced in October, 1980. Secondly, Morgan's pal Brian Mulroney became Prime Minister in the fall of 1984. Thirdly, Mulroney and the signing of the Western Accord trashed the last remnants of the NEP at the end of March 1985. Fourthly, Morgan's pal and idol Klein did not become Premier until December 14, 1992 - a full 12 years after the National Energy Program and more than 7 years after its demise.
And fifthly - in every other jurisdiction of this whole wide world, credible business leaders remember the havoc brought down on world economies by high interest rate policies led by the Federal Reserve Board of the United States in the early 1980's. Morgan and his fellow conservative travelers never remember this when discussing the difficult times during the eighties. They remember only the NEP. But here are the facts:
- - in October 1980 - the same month of the introduction of the NEP, the prime rate of the Federal Reserve Board of the United States rose from 13.5% to 14.5%
- - in November 1980, the prime rate of the Federal Reserve Board rose from 15.50% to 17.75%.
- - in December by Christmas of 1980 the rate was 20.50%
- - in September 1981, the rate was 20%, after which it began a slow and tortuous slide downwards.
The results of those punitive interest rates was a prolonged spate of foreclosures across North America which lasted for years, the like of which had not been witnessed since the Great Depression.
So, what are we to make of the oft-feted Morgan? Is he Pinocchio? Does he have failing memory because of age (he is only in his early sixties and works out religiously, apparently)? Or is he a conservative political hack?
It's your pick.