I need to comment on the May 27 Gazette article, profiling the work of Mr. John Liston and the Alberta Enterprise Group. In comments attributed to Mr. Liston, he glowingly describes the contribution of Alberta’s business leaders to the prosperity of our province and I agree with some of his assertions. My concern lies with this statement: "Entrepreneurs are the only source of new revenue into the machine. The rest of the public sector is a regurgitation of money."
I found this comment offensive. Regurgitation, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the casting up of incompletely digested food” or “the backward flow of blood through a defective heart valve”. I’m sure that Mr. Liston is a fine person, but one might infer from his word choice that he has a less than complimentary view of the ‘public sector’.
Perhaps Mr. Liston needs a reminder that Alberta’s public sector significantly contributes to the prosperity of our province, keeping Alberta’s people healthy, educating Alberta’s children, providing top-quality post-secondary education for Alberta’s future employees and entrepreneurs, caring for Alberta’s vulnerable people, ensuring the health of Alberta’s environment, and creating and maintaining critical infrastructure so that business can function.
Business and the public sector must be partners. Both built Alberta together! Mr. Liston’s organization, and the UCP government, must recognize that an US vs THEM polarization is extremely unhelpful to Alberta’s future. To be fair, I have heard polarizing language from a few in the public sector as well. The only way forward for our province is for the public sector and the business community to demonstrate mutual respect for the important role that each play in Alberta. The UCP government must find the all-important balance in considering the needs of the public sector and business; so far, it is sadly lacking. Build bridges instead of War Rooms!