December 30, 2005


Prosperity cheques provide post-Christmas teen dreams
(Judy Monchuk, The Globe and Mail, December 29th, 2005)

And thanks to Alberta's energy bonanza, Shelby will be getting $400 from the province early in 2006 that could make her dream a reality. She and her friends say there's only one option for what the government has termed prosperity cheques.

“A big shopping spree,” the Grade 8 student said with a laugh as she browsed through racks of clothing at Chinook Centre, Calgary's largest mall.

Shelby's mom has thought about letting her daughter have a portion of the windfall to indulge her consumer fantasies, but it's a tough decision.

“It's caused conflict in a lot of families I know,” said Tammy Airth. “For the government to say each individual will get $400 is absurd. Every kid I know is pumped about the $400 that they're getting. That money should go towards offsetting high energy bills, but of course these guys don't see that. They see $400 that the government is giving to them.”

Ms. Airth scoffs at Premier Ralph Klein's suggestion that kids — or their parents — can put the money into education accounts or donate it to the homeless if they feel that's the best use of the cash.

“Kids don't care about their education when they're 12 or 13 years old: they want the money, they want to go shopping and blow the money,” said Ms. Airth.

Historian David Mills says no one should be surprised by the reaction of teens and even pre-teens to what's essentially free cash — a $1.4-billion “rebate” shared by every man, woman and child in Alberta because of soaring oil and gas prices.

“It's almost as if we live in an age of entitlement,” says Mr. Mills, who teaches pop culture at the University of Alberta.

Yes, almost. A few more years of this and Albertans will be importing thousands of Filipino guest workers to do their work for them.

Posted by Peter Burnet at December 30, 2005 6:27 AM

The Filipinos will be a fine addition to the 51st state.

Posted by: Noel at December 30, 2005 8:04 AM

I've got my $400 rebate slated towards a new digital camera. But a Filipino guest worker? That's kinda tempting too.

Posted by: Flip at December 30, 2005 12:13 PM

hire a filipino that has a camera.

Posted by: toe at December 30, 2005 12:47 PM