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UCP Budget coming today

The government was expecting to maintain deficit spending until 2022-23. In the 2019 budget, projected deficit for 2020 was $6.5 billion.

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Finance Minister Travis Toews gave his pre-budget address Wednesday and said Albertans can count on more cuts.

“We were very clear in Budget 2019 that there would be a reduction in the size of the budget service … so again, we will continue with the general premise and plan,” Toews said.

“In the future three years there will be some continued job reductions in the public sector. The vast majority of those will be through attrition, but we have been very transparent about that.”

The budget will be tabled Thursday afternoon and here is what the Western Standard is looking for.

Revenue

In the October’s 2019-20 budget, revenues were projected to increase each year – marginally until 2022 – particularly oil and gas royalties but also personal income tax.

Kenney introduced “bracket creep” in the last budget – a formula that does not change income tax brackets with inflation that will have some people paying more in personal income tax. However, job gains have not been as strong as the UCP predicted and that could affect the numbers more significantly than the additional revenue earned by bracket creep.

Oil and gas royalties have not been a great source of income for Alberta over the last few years. In 2018, the Alberta government earned more from “other taxes” than oil and gas royalties. The 2018/19 estimate for royalties was $5.4 billion.

Spending

Are there noticeable decreases in spending projected for the year? The Throne Speech, delivered only two days ago, again said there would only be a three per cent decrease in spending. Similar to what was seen last time, that may mean deeper cuts to some areas and increased spending in others.

Deficit

What does the province pay out in relation to the revenue they take in. There were some areas in the budget released only four months ago that saw more cuts and others that saw slight increases in spending. Expenses moved around between departments and overall spending was $2 billion dollars higher than the last year under the NDP.

In the last budget, the United Conservative Party was not optimistic about revenue increases for 2020 and did not register a notable increase until 2021 at least.

The government was expecting to maintain deficit spending until 2022-23. In the 2019 budget, projected deficit for 2020 was $6.5 billion.

Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard

dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB

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UCP MLA calls Alberta CERB recipients lazy ‘Cheezie-eaters’

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The NDP is calling for an apology from Premier Jason Kenney after one of his MLAs called Albertans lazy “Cheezie-eating” people who used CERB money for drugs.

Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson also called the federal emergency COVID-19 cash “funny money” at a recent townhall meeting.

He noted some companies are having trouble hiring workers because people make more on CERB and those Alberta recipients are “eating Cheezies watching cartoons.”

Getson said a friend in B.C. had noted drug abusers there had suddenly gone from earning $700 a month to $2,000 on CERB, a problem he has also noticed in Alberta.

“Now all of a sudden we have addiction problems going through the roof…then what, the funny money runs out.”

It’s unclear in the clip whether at the start Getson was referring to all Albertans or just those on drugs.

Getson video

“It is absolutely vile that a UCP MLA would make such a baseless and harmful statement about the hardworking people of Alberta who were forced to access emergency support during a global pandemic,” said Christina Gray, NDP Labour Critic. 

“People accessed these funds because their workplaces shut down or because they or their families were forced to isolate. The UCP defends their own use of emergency support for their debt ridden political party, while their MLA attacks struggling Albertans who needed support. Premier Kenney and Shane Getson owe all Albertans an apology for these thoughtless and hurtful comments.” 

Statistics Canada said 1,062,640 Albertans applied for the CERB.

“These comments are heartless and appalling,” said Heather Sweet, NDP Critic for Addictions and Mental Health. 

Notley tweet

“We learned just days ago about the tragic deaths of 301 Albertans to opioid overdoses. For an MLA to essentially joke about addictions at this time is beyond the pale. It speaks to the lack of compassion this government repeatedly shows when it comes to addressing mental health and addictions in this province Getson needs to immediately apologize for his ignorant and hurtful comments.”

Kenney’s office said Getson will be addressing the matter later Tuesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Moe promises balanced budget in Saskatchewan in four years

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe kicked off the province’s election campaign with a vow to balance the books by 2024.

The province ran a $2.4-billion deficit for the 2020-21, a figure largely blamed on falling oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moe, during a campaign kick-off in Regina, said his Saskatchewan Party has a “plan for a strong economic recovery with a balanced budget by 2024.”

He said Saskatchewan now, despite a “challenging economy”, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and urged voters not to go back to the policies of the NDP.

“They closed hospitals, we are building hospitals,” said Moe, whose party is well ahead in the polls.

“This election is about ‘who do you trust.'”

NDP leader Ryan Meili was itching to get on the campaign trail.

“New Democrats are ready to run a great campaign against this government that is old and out of ideas. Let’s go!” he tweeted.

Ryan Meili
Courtesy Twitter

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working. We need to invest in healthcare, in our kids’ schools, in getting people back on their feet. Let’s build a better future that puts people first.”

The election will be held Oct. 26, two days after the vote in B.C.

When the legislature was dissolved, Moe’s Saskatchewan Party held a 46-13 lead over the NDP.

Moe was sworn in as premier in 2018.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Report: Trudeau’s second carbon tax would devastate Canada

“It will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

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The second Liberal carbon tax will have a crushing effect on the Canadian economy, a new study shows.

The Clean Fuel Standard will increase the cost of home heating by 60 per cent, drive up the price of gas another 13 cents a litre, cost 30,000 jobs, put at risk $22 billion in foreign capital in Canada and cost every worker an additional $440 yearly, says the group Canadian for Affordable Energy.

Their report claims “the additional emission regulation undermines the efficiency of any existing carbon tax in reducing GHG emissions; that despite its cost the CFS will accomplish very little – especially in a growing economy; and that, depending on compliance options, the CFS may end up creating environmental challenges, not opportunities.

Study of second carbon tax on Alberta

“The problems of the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) are truly represented in its name, which misleadingly suggests that the policy will deliver clean air. But Canada already has remarkably high clean air standards which are rarely violated,” said the report, written by former Liberal MP Dan McTeague.

“If the (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau government is to pursue the lofty goal of zero emissions above all else, it will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

Study of second carbon tax on B.C.

The second carbon tax is part of Canada’s plan within the Paris Accord to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Liberals have been planning the CFS since they came to power but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans until now.

Federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the CFS will diversify the economy and promote investment in clean solutions.

“It will create opportunities for farmers and companies producing renewable fuels, will encourage investments in energy efficiency to help Canadians save money and will promote faster development of zero emissions vehicles,” he said in a statement.

“The cost implications for households and industry are unclear but a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in May 2019 estimated the impact of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon intensity. CERI suggested a total fuel decarbonisation cost of $15.3 billion a year, adding $84 or four per cent to household fuel bills; $62 or 2.8 per cent to the cost of gas; and 13 per cent to fuel costs for industry.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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