The Alberta Party Has A Better Way

By Meagan Wade

The PCs have made us too dependent on the price of oil.

Now they want to raise your taxes while they cut your kids’ education and your parents’ healthcare.

They want you to pay for their mistakes.

The Alberta Party has a better way.

The Alberta Party will work to…

Protect the services we need by reducing our dependence on oil and gas royalties

  • Protect frontline services in health and education by balancing the budget over six years.
  • Replace the PCs’ proposed new income tax, which continues Alberta’s unfair income tax system, with an effective progressive tax system that’s fair to average families.
  • Increase revenues from corporate tax by increasing the tax rate by 1%, which will still leave Alberta with the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada.
  • Empower front-line staff to find cost savings and reduce administration costs by at least $250 million per year through zero based reviews of all departments.
  • Create a Legislature Budget Officer mandated to review budgets before they are passed to increase transparency and accountability over budgeting.
  • Mandate 50% of resource revenues are saved to the Heritage Savings and Trust Fund.
  • Mandate 100% of surpluses be used to pay down debt until the debt is retired, then 100% of surpluses to the Heritage Fund.

Implement a “smart” infrastructure investment plan to build the infrastructure we need and keep Albertans working

  • Use Alberta’s excellent credit rating and access to low interest rates to borrow the funds needed to build the schools, health facilities (including the long overdue Calgary Cancer Centre and upgrades to Edmonton’s Misericordia hospital), transit (including LRT expansion) and roads needed to accommodate our population growth.
  • Require the government to commit to a plan that pays back those loans over a reasonable period of time, similar to how you use a mortgage to purchase a home.

Build schools, protect our teachers and reduce class sizes

  • Reverse the PCs’ cuts to education and guarantee per-student funding to match population growth and inflation.
  • Invest in new schools to keep pace with Alberta’s population growth.
  • Phase out school fees.
  • Reduce taxpayer subsidies to private schools that do not serve the public interest.

Make strategic investments in healthcare to improve service and reduce costs

  • Reverse the PCs’ billion dollar cut to healthcare and guarantee stable funding that matches population growth and inflation.
  • Reduce operating costs by investing in long term care beds that will free up acute care beds in our hospitals and ensure that patients are not being treated in hallways.
  • Reduce operating costs in our acute care system by investing in preventative care.
  • Ensure seniors can live comfortably in their own homes longer through better home care.
  • Invest in critical health infrastructure projects long-delayed by the PCs.
  • Improve access to mental health and addiction treatment.

Protect Alberta communities and businesses by building flood mitigation

  • Build at least two of the Glenmore diversion tunnel, Springbank Dry Dam or McLean Creek needed to protect downtown Calgary, and the river communities upstream and downstream of Calgary.
  • Cancel the wasteful floodway buyout program and resell properties to recover the funds once mitigation is in place.
  • Close out all Disaster Relief Program claims from the 2013 flood, fix the program to be more proactive and ensure it meets Albertans needs in the future.

Provide stable funding and improve access to post-secondary education

  • Cap tuition increases at the rate of inflation.
  • Ensure all Alberta students who qualify for post-secondary education have access to a space.
  • Restore the Summer Temporary Employment Program to provide more students with summer jobs in their field.
  • Reduce student debt by increasing access to needs-based grants.

Restore trust in our government by implementing the toughest ethics laws in Canada

  • Prohibit public spending announcements during an election, such as Education Minister Gordon Dirks’ announcement of new school portables for his constituency during the 2014 by-election.
  • Prohibit cabinet ministers from using their office for political gain.
  • Toughen Alberta’s campaign finance laws.
  • Conduct government business in the legislature – not behind closed doors.
  • Strengthen our democracy by redefining the role of MLAs to better serve constituents and reforming how the Legislature operates.

Strengthen our energy industry through environmental leadership

  • Accelerate the phase-out of coal power to reduce Alberta’s carbon footprint.
  • Implement a $30 price per tonne of carbon for large emitters who don’t reduce their emissions by 30%.
  • Implement a clean energy standard that requires 25% of electricity generated in Alberta to come from renewable sources within ten years
  • Implement accurate and transparent environmental monitoring and effective enforcement mechanisms.
  • Improve regulatory response times to create certainty for resource companies that meet all regulatory criteria.

Diversify our economy with market-driven solutions that make it easier to start and grow a business

  • Invest an additional $100 million in the Alberta Enterprise Fund, an arms-length agency that provides venture capital funds to support Alberta startups.
  • Promote entrepreneurship by gradually phasing out Alberta’s small business tax.
  • Invest in infrastructure that supports our creative industries and protect arts and cultural funding.
  • Diversify markets for our agricultural products by working with the federal government to promote them internationally.
  • Increase support for the development of new value added agricultural products for local and domestic markets.

Enter into a new partnership with municipalities

  • Provide stable and predictable long-term infrastructure funding for municipalities.
  • Create city charters for Calgary and Edmonton, which recognize the abilities of the city governments to better meet the needs of their citizens.

Eliminate child poverty in Alberta

  • Ensure Alberta children have adequate housing by increasing housing options including subsidised housing.
  • Increase allowable asset limits for those who qualify for income support.
  • Investigate the feasibility and impact of a living wage in Alberta.
  • Increase Alberta’s minimum wage at the rate of inflation.

Enter into a new partnership with the Aboriginal community

  • Make strategic investments to improve education for Aboriginal youth with a goal of doubling the high school completion rate.
  • Work with Aboriginal communities to develop and implement skills training programs to reduce unemployment.
  • Improve engagement with Aboriginal communities on development and growth pressures.

Improve Alberta’s quality of life through investments in culture

  • Provide stable operating funding to arts and creative industries to help diversify our economy
  • Provide funding to expand the uses of existing creative spaces by more cultural organizations.
  • Develop a Provincial Arts Strategy, including supporting the development of creative industries outside the major cities.

Source The Alberta Party