On Feb. 9 I attended Premier Alison Redford’s Alberta Economic Summit in Calgary. I was hoping for a positive discussion on ways to address Alberta’s economic future. Unfortunately, the premier stacked the panels and the result was a discussion weighted heavily in favour of levying unfair taxes on hardworking families.
Most of the premier’s handpicked panelists favoured dismantling the Alberta Advantage by bringing in a provincial sales tax. Alberta is the only province without a PST. It is a sign of our achievement and economic success that we have been able to do just fine without one.
It is surprising the premier chose to give a platform to so many PST cheerleaders considering she is regarded by many as liberal-leaning. Consumption taxes hit low income people the hardest. For instance, someone with a low annual income, a five- to eight-percent tax at the till will certainly cause problems.
It’s time for the government to put forward a positive vision for the province by balancing the books responsibly — without hurting the economy.
Premier Redford and Finance Minister Doug Horner like to pretend their budgetary problems come as a surprise but this could be seen coming from miles away. The premier banked on a ridiculous estimate for the price for oil. Instead of owning up to the mistake, the premier and her ilk are blaming the budget on the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canada Select (on Feb. 9, 2012 the differential was $34.20 on Feb. 8, 2013, it was $25.70).
The government could improve the situation immediately by accepting the proposals of the Wildrose Official Opposition to end wasteful spending. They could end the practice of corporate welfare through $2 billion for carbon capture and storage, or the $3 billion for oil companies to develop technology via AOSTRA 11. Of course, there’s the $275 million for luxurious new offices for MLAs. And how about the limitless expense policy for bureaucrats and executives, or their bonuses and severances?
There are savings to be found, unfortunately, the PC government plans to make hardworking Alberta families pay for government mismanagement by cutting in the wrong places or by raising taxes.
I look forward to the re-opening of the legislature on March 5. This will be an opportunity for both myself and the Wildrose Official Opposition to bring forward new and refreshing ideas to bring the budget under control.
I also look forward to hearing from you, the constituents of Lacombe-Ponoka, with your ideas of how to bring control into the chaos created by this government. Please contact my office at #101 4892 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4. Phone 403 782 7725 or email: Lacombe.firstname.lastname@example.org