Are You Better Off Today Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Time for change: As election is called, Kenney challenges NDP on carbon tax, soaring taxes, sky-high deficits and job losses

LEDUC, AB: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” said United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, speaking shortly after the election was called for 16th day of April. “For the vast majority of Albertans, the answer is ‘no.’ ”

“In this election, Albertans have a chance to vote for change that will get this province back to work, create jobs, build pipelines, while fighting for a fair deal for Alberta. And that’s exactly what we will do,” Kenney continued.

As the election campaign begins, more than 180,000 Albertans are out of work. Thousands more are underemployed and the gross payroll is $1.3 billion[1] down from what it was when the NDP took power. The average family’s take home pay has dropped by $6,400, since the start of 2015.

High-rise office towers stand empty in Alberta’s biggest cities, and as investors lose confidence, Alberta’s heavy equipment is heading south to better opportunities and auctioneers are getting rich selling off the rest.

“We will stop the NDP’s reckless plunge toward a $100 billion debt that risks our future. We will stand up to those blocking our resources, and demand a new deal for Alberta to secure pipelines and a fair price for our energy.” Kenney said. “We will send a message to the world that Alberta is open for business again.”

“I can tell you one thing Albertans hate: unemployment, and the corrosive effect it has on people’s lives. That’s why a United Conservative Government will be obsessed with creating good jobs,” said Kenney.

Kenney added, “We can’t afford not to take bold action. Either we do so by bringing investment and jobs back to Alberta, or we continue to face economic stagnation, as more Albertans lose their jobs, their homes, and their hope.”

Since the NDP came to power in May 2015, provincial income taxes have gone up, liquor and fuel taxes have gone up, and it is estimated that the annual cost of the NDP’s carbon tax—even with the “recycled rebate”—is more than $400 for a single parent with two children and almost $4,500 for the average small and medium-sized business for just extra fuel costs every year.

The provincial debt has ballooned. The year the NDP were elected, Alberta had a $1.1 billion surplus. Since then the NDP has racked up[2] more than $32 billion in deficits, with billions more to come, pushing Albertans well on the way to $100 billion in debt.

Taxes spent on interest paid to borrow money limits any government’s ability to provide the service people want and deserve. It already amounts to $435 per Albertan, per year, or more than $1.8 billion per year.[3]  And it will grow to more than $3.5 billion per year if we give the NDP another blank cheque, $3.5 billion going to bankers on Wall Street, rather than to health and education on Main Street, Alberta.

There are now 182,500 unemployed Albertans.

There are 25,000 fewer private sector jobs now than when the NDP took power and 12,000 jobs[4] have been lost in the last two months alone. This number does not include those who have given up looking for work altogether.

Alberta also has the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada, at 7.3per cent, even higher than Nova Scotia. Calgary now has the highest unemployment rate of any Canadian city, Edmonton the third highest.

“The key question in this election is: which team can get our economy back to work and create jobs. Which team will fight most effectively to get pipelines built. Which team will stand up to Justin Trudeau and those attacking Alberta. Which team will fight for a fair deal for Alberta.”

During the past six weeks, Kenney has laid out several comprehensive policies and promises that will put Albertans back on their feet.

Kenney has promised that the first legislation passed by a UCP government would be the repeal of the inflationary, job-killing carbon tax.

A United Conservative Party government would if elected, also move quickly to introduce the Job Creation Tax Cut. Economists estimate this one new law alone would create at least 55,000 jobs, and grow Alberta’s economy by $13 billion. We also hired an economic consulting firm, Stokes Economics, to calculate how many new jobs would result from ending the carbon tax: Another 6,000 new jobs in 2024.

That’s 61,000 new jobs from our Job Creators Tax Cut and from ending the carbon tax.

A UCP government will also spur job creation and economic growth through a Red Tape Reduction Action Plan, by reducing the burden of poorly conceived or unnecessary regulation by one third, over a four year term.

Kenney concluded, “If Albertans give us their confidence, we will work every day, without relent, to get Alberta back to work, to be the best place in North America to live, work, start a business, and raise a family. An Alberta that is strong and free!”