Blog | September 03, 2015

The role of opposition parties is critical to a vibrant democracy. When opposition MLAs raise reasonable questions about the government's decisions it can stimulate a healthy debate about the direction our province is heading. The statements below are productive contributions to that debate. Give them a read and let us know what you think.

Swann Calls for Economic Stimulus

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann outlined his recommendations for stimulating the economy in reaction to the lack of action being taken by the NDP.
“I heard little in today’s fiscal update to suggest that the NDP has a strategy to get our economy moving,” says Swann. “They were well aware that the economy was slowing when they were first elected. Yet, after more than three months in office, they are still holding their cards to their chest. You can only do that for so long before someone calls your bluff.”
Swann’s comments come as the government provided its first quarter fiscal and economic update which confirmed that the Alberta economy is expected to retract, while showing a projected deficit of $5.9 billion, and an approximate $20 billion drop in investment in oil and gas from last year. Economic forecasts are also showing a decline in retail spending versus last year.
Alberta Liberals recommend the following measures: Boost infrastructure spending to repair Alberta’s roads, bridges, and hospitals and build new schools, waste water facilities, affordable housing, and public transit. This spending can and should be debt financed, provided that the government provides a clear debt repayment plan. Stimulate job creation by phasing out the small business tax. Lower the small business tax immediately by one percentage point and reduce it by a further one percentage point in each subsequent year until it is eliminated. Continue to support and encourage economic diversification by shielding new technology initiatives under Innovation and Advanced Education from any significant cuts in the upcoming provincial budget. Scrap plans to give businesses $10,000 for low wage hiring – which is not a sustainable approach to job creation. Financial incentives to encourage the creation of new, clean technologies in the private sector.
“The reality is that Alberta remains on the resource revenue roller-coaster,” says Swann. “Unless action is taken to stimulate and diversify the economy and fix our broken fiscal structure, we are going to find ourselves back in this kind of fiscal situation again and again.”

Read this statement on the Alberta Liberal Party's website.

Clark urges government to hold more climate change consultations, questions why consultation RFP cancelled

CALGARY—(September 2, 2015)-More Albertans deserve an opportunity to have their say on Alberta’s climate change strategy, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.
“Last night’s consultation in Calgary drew over 400 people and I expect today’s event in Edmonton will be similar,” said Clark. “It’s unfortunate that Albertans from other parts of the province won’t have the same opportunity.”
Clark called on the province to expand the process to include consultations in Fort McMurray, Grade Prairie, Red Deer and Lethbridge, as was apparently the original plan.
“The province issued an RFP earlier this summer for a more large-scale consultation that included these cities,” said Clark. “In addition to hearing from people in these cities it would also give rural Albertans near each centre more opportunity to have their say.
“I don’t know why they cancelled the RFP but it outlined the approach I would like to see.”
Clark said completing an online survey is not the same as participating in person.
“For an issue as important as this it is important for the panel to hear from as many Albertans as possible,” said Clark. “Not everyone is comfortable completing and online survey and a survey risks being skewed by organized groups. It’s much more difficult to do that in person.
“I also have a concern that the survey is not limited to Albertans. It is important that Albertans, and Albertans alone, determine our path forward.”

NOTE: The RFP Summary is available here and the complete RFP document can be downloaded here.

Read this statement on the Alberta Party's website.