Alberta desperately needs to reduce its labour costs

Alberta desperately needs to reduce its labour costsAt the end of August Finance Minister Travis Toews released his budget update, which was 20 pages doused from top to bottom in red ink. Albertans couldn’t afford our high-cost provincial government before the pandemic. And Toews’ budget update shows we definitely can’t afford our high-cost provincial government now. At $24 billion, this year’s deficit…

Alberta needs to take tax hikes off the table

Alberta needs to take tax hikes off the tableHere’s one thing Premier Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can agree on: hiking taxes would be a bad idea. “I cannot imagine a dumber thing to do in the midst of a time of economic fragility, an oil price collapse and a global recession than to add a multi-billion dollar tax on the…

Alberta government flip-flops on corporate welfare

It’s time for the UCP to drop its newfound interest in picking winners and losers

Alberta government flip-flops on corporate welfareIt’s a sad day for taxpayers when their government that has “committed to being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money” starts bragging about its corporate welfare spending. Premier Jason Kenney should immediately scrap the new business subsidy programs his government just announced and go back to focusing on cutting taxes for everyone rather than picking…

Corporate welfare no way to help the economy

Corporate welfare no way to help the economyBusinesses need help, but it’s important to provide the right help the right way. Premier Jason Kenney’s economic strategy has so far revolved around three core principles: lowering taxes, cutting red tape and pushing back against Ottawa. Kenney should double down on these principles to help Alberta recover and stay away from corporate welfare. “The…

Albertans still waiting for recall, referendum rules

Kenney should fulfil his campaign promise, committing to a culture change and reaffirming the role of citizens as boss

Albertans still waiting for recall, referendum rulesMore than a year into the United Conservative Party’s mandate, Albertans are still waiting for two key accountability reforms: recall and referendum rules. If government belongs to the people, then the people should be able to vote to recall misbehaving politicians between elections and initiate referendums to introduce or repeal legislation. Premier Jason Kenney can…

UCP shouldn’t take handouts from struggling taxpayers

Federal wage subsidy should go to struggling Albertans, not to a political party with plenty of money in the bank

UCP shouldn’t take handouts from struggling taxpayersThe United Conservative Party said it would stick up for taxpayers, but now the UCP is exploiting the federal wage subsidy and taking money meant for struggling Albertans. The federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides employers affected by COVID-19 with a 75 per cent wage subsidy. The intent of the program wasn’t to force Canadians to subsidize…

Don’t sing the blue-ribbon blues about Alberta’s future finances

There are ways to reorganize some of our basic services, and we can rev up a new research-and-development engine of growth

Don’t sing the blue-ribbon blues about Alberta’s future financesDuring an early-morning chat over the fence, Chuck seemed more subdued than usual. “Just read the blue-ribbon panel’s report on Alberta’s finances,” he moaned, referencing the provincial-government-commissioned report led by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, “and it’s bad. We’re in debt up to our necks, the oil business is up the tubes and after…

Alberta Energy Regulator overhaul a dangerous game

Weaken the regulatory framework at your peril. Sloppy regulation begets sloppy industrial operation. And that drives investment away

Alberta Energy Regulator overhaul a dangerous gameGrant Sprague and Bev Yee, Alberta deputy ministers of energy and environment respectively, are very capable senior bureaucrats. Here’s hoping they bring to bear all their skills for the review of the Alberta Energy Regulator. They should keep in mind that the review ought not to be the witch hunt the current political framing suggests…

The objectivity of the non-objective columnist

Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella wrote a column in favour of Jason Kenney while a member of the UPC. Is this misstep a fate worse than death?

The objectivity of the non-objective columnistHaving been a columnist for more than two decades, I obviously understand this profession inside and out. Yet I’m still constantly amazed how little the average Canadian knows about column writing, even if he or she has been reading a publication’s opinion/comment section for the equivalent of a lifetime. Here’s a recent example. Sean Craig,…

Alberta workplace legislation actually harming workers

Labour regulations granting mandatory benefits simply make workers pay, through reduced wages, for those benefits

Alberta workplace legislation actually harming workersA main priority of Alberta’s United Conservative Party government, given the province’s relatively high unemployment rate over the past few years, is job creation. It’s right there in Jason Kenney’s two-line Twitter biography: “Premier of Alberta. Focused on getting Alberta back to work.” The proposed corporate tax cuts will certainly help attract business investment and…