My home province of Alberta was the economic engine of Canada for decades, but now is in a severe recession. Through our petroleum industry, Alberta provided good paying jobs for hard working people across the country – which included many fine workers from Atlantic Canada.
But all of this changed with the downturn in oil prices. Over the last two years, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in Alberta. The unemployment rate has risen from 4.6% to 8.8%. Youth unemployment now sits at 13.5%.
Last week, Finance Minister Morneau was in Calgary speaking to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. He acknowledged that Alberta families have had it tougher than most, and that the government could do more to help.
Yet Minister Morneau is actually doing the opposite. He hiked payroll taxes, has cancelled numerous tax credits, and is now going directly after the Alberta oil industry by removing tax deductions on exploration and driving away billions of dollars in future investment.
Alberta does not need and cannot afford this kind of help.
Perhaps the Liberal government hasn’t noticed, but our largest trading partner to the south under President Donald Trump, is committed to reducing the tax burden on Americans and making their businesses more competitive. There will be no carbon tax in the US. And instead of raising taxes, President Trump plans to cut personal income tax and to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 per cent.
As the Fraser Institute recently commented:
“This policy move would have major implications for Canada. For starters, it would dramatically reduce the competitiveness of our business tax regime.”
We are headed for serious trouble under this Liberal government, and Albertans are extremely concerned.
Last month, Alberta’s 27 Conservative MPs released their Alberta Jobs Taskforce Report which contains immediate solutions to get Albertans back to work, and to re-ignite Alberta’s once-thriving economy.
Conservative MPs in Alberta have an Alberta-made plan for job creation with eleven recommendations. If Mr. Morneau and his government are truly interested in helping Albertans, they should immediately begin implementing these excellent recommendations.