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Election 2019: Candidate Q&A #1

One big focus of this year's provincial election is the economy and job creation. The Gazette asked the 16 candidates running in the upcoming provincial eleciton to talk to us about the economic future of the province.
2703 Q1 file

One big focus of this year's provincial election is the Alberta economy and job creation.

The Gazette asked the 16 candidates running in the upcoming provincial election to talk to us about the economic future of the province. Each candidate was given a 150-word limit. Shane Getson is running for the UCP in the riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland but did not provide responses to the question.

Q: Give one reason why Albertans should be optimistic about the economic future of the province under your party.

Marie Renaud (NDP – St. Albert)

We’ll take a balanced fiscal approach, as we have for the past four years. Alberta faced the worst recession in a generation, so we chose to grow the economy by investing in things families need: schools and hospitals. We diversified. Since the depths of the recession, we added 80,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, we brought the deficit down faster than expected. We made sure our tax system is fair and that we’re the lowest-taxed in Canada. We reined in spending and cut costs, including salaries and perks for executives. We eliminated waste and amalgamated agencies, boards and commissions.

Our balance sheet is the best in Canada by a country mile, and we won’t jeopardize that with a tax giveaway for corporations which will cost billions, putting Alberta’s recovery at risk. There’s more work to do. We’re going to keep making smart investments and balance the budget by 2023 without making reckless cuts.

Jeff Wedman (UCP – St. Albert)

The United Conservatives have a well developed plan for restoring investor confidence in Alberta.

We understand the road to economic recovery is based on freeing our entrepreneurs to create jobs rather than burdening them with excessive taxation and regulation. As our first bill, a United Conservative government will repeal the carbon tax. This will lower transportation, heating and electrical costs for individuals, businesses, municipalities, and schools.

Next, we will pass a Job Creation Tax Cut which will lower taxes on businesses to eight percent over a four-year period, creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

We will take steps to review, change or scrap unnecessary red tape which delays projects and adds costs to businesses.

We have a 12-point plan to aggressively stand up for Alberta’s interests against foreign-funded attacks on our province. Alberta’s energy sector is the most responsible in the world; it’s time we talked about it.

Barry Bailey (Alberta Party – St. Albert)

The Alberta Party understands what small-and medium-size businesses need to thrive in Alberta. As past chair of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, running two small businesses the past 15 years, and like many of our candidates including our leader Stephen Mandel, being entrepreneurs, we have real world experience.

Nearly 90 per cent of jobs in Alberta are in the small-to medium-size business sector. We’ll create a straightforward and competitive business tax that encourages and supports business, creates jobs and tells the world Alberta is open for investment again. We’ll listen to business owners and chambers of commerce, reduce the layers of regulation and red tape that are barriers to success, and then get out of the way. Business doesn’t need more government. We already have the most important piece of the puzzle; that is smart, creative, hardworking Albertans. Let’s allow them to do what they do best.

Kevin McLean (Liberal Party – St. Albert)

There are many reasons Albertans should be optimistic about the economic future of Alberta under the Alberta Liberal Party. Anything is better than what we have had for the last 50 years. The Progressive Conservatives led the province for 44 years and when they were done the cupboards were bare. Now the NDP is throwing the baby out with the bathwater – we will be over $50 billion in debt after their first term. They say conservatively we are on our way to $100 billion.

Albertans deserve better. There is a better approach than far left or far right: the middle ground is Alberta Liberal ground. We are the center, we are the fiscal right and the social left, truly aligning with most Albertans.

There is a major announcement coming on Wednesday, March 27, from our leader David Kahn. I am proud of these new announcements – there will be major proposed changes to taxation that will benefit all Albertans.

Cameron Jefferies (Green Party – St. Albert)

The Green Party of Alberta is the only party offering a long-term vision that simultaneously supports Albertans through the stable funding of social programs while also working to achieve a just and economically sensible transition to a low-carbon economy. To achieve this, we must ensure that today’s decisions account for tomorrow’s demands.

Accordingly, we will examine tax structures to ensure that corporations are paying their fair share and that personal taxation is appropriately progressive. We will manage Alberta’s plentiful natural resources, and the revenues they generate, with a view to funding a sustainable future: this includes allocating the revenue generated by a carbon tax in the most efficient and beneficial manner possible to speed the energy transition. By capitalizing on the expanding need for renewables, we can mobilize the immense skill and knowledge of Alberta’s population in a green economy.

Don Petruka (Alberta Advantage Party – St. Albert)

Putting Albertans back to work in good-paying jobs is the only common sense way to stimulate our economy. The Alberta Advantage Party has an energy platform that will put Albertans back to work by restructuring the regulatory process currently impeding the development of our oil and gas, mining and electricity industries while still protecting the environment.

Restructuring the transfer of orphaned and abandoned wells in Alberta will relieve the burden of cash-strapped companies, freeing up capital for future growth.
Using micro-generation technology including wind, solar and other non-traditional forms of generation, we will allow all Albertans to become electricity producers to contribute to the electrical grid for profit, in turn lowering our dependence on buying electricity from outside our borders.

And we would examine the economic viability and environmental impact of restoring coal-fired electrical plants, while still actively marketing our coal abroad.

Sheldon Gron (Alberta Independence Party – St. Albert)

I dislike saying this! There’s little to be optimistic about regarding Alberta’s future! Currently oil and gas is too vital to Alberta’s economy. Ottawa holds the cards and they don’t value our industry.

Independence is the single card Albertans have to play which can once again establish optimism! We offer this if elected: With a successful referendum vote of 50 per cent +1, we’ll immediately stop all federal transfer payments to Ottawa, freeing up over $40 billion in revenue. Revenue that will immediately go into rebuilding Alberta’s economy. We will put a stop to carbon tax and GST. We will also implement our new tax structure of $45,000 or less pays no tax, and anything over $45.000.00 pays a flat tax of 20 per cent. For someone making $45,000, this translates into approximately $9,500 in yearly savings. Keeping the transfer payments and Albertans being taxed less will result in the first steps to rebuilding our economy.

Natalie Birnie (NDP – Morinville-St. Albert)

We're optimistic because Rachel Notley’s made-in-Alberta plan to diversify the economy is working. We’re attracting investment in high tech, renewables, artificial intelligence, value-added agriculture, manufacturing, food processing and more.

We’re also diversifying within our energy sector by processing more oil and gas resources here in Alberta, creating jobs at home rather than shipping them south. Picking up where Premier Lougheed left off, Rachel’s vision for more refining, upgrading, and turning petrochemicals into plastics has already secured five projects worth almost $13 billion, creating 12,000 jobs.

That’s why she announced she is doubling incentives for petrochemical and upgrading projects for the next decade, which will leverage $75 billion in investment and create 70,000 jobs.

Our Made-in-Alberta plan means our bottom line will no longer rely on rollercoaster oil prices. We’re taking the bull by the horns and getting better value for the resources owned by every Albertan.

Dale Nally (UCP – Morinville-St. Albert)

A United Conservative government is committed to getting Albertans back to work, which is why Albertans should be optimistic about the economic future of this province.

A United Conservative government will focus on creating jobs for the 182,500 Albertans out of work. In January 2019, Alberta had over 50,000 employment insurance beneficiaries, an increase of 4.3 per cent from December 2019.

Bill 2 of a United Conservative government will be the Open for Business Act, focused on creating jobs and getting Albertans back to work. Bill 2 will reverse job-killing NDP policies, and incentivize the creation of youth employment.

Over four years, a United Conservative government will introduce a Job Creation Tax Cut, which will lower the tax on job creators by one-third from 12 per cent to 8 per cent over four years. Small business tax rates will remain at two per cent, and there will be no provincial sales tax.

Neil Korotash (Alberta Party – Morinville-St. Albert)

The Alberta Party will ensure Albertans are getting full value for natural resources by pursuing multiple options to get our oil to tidewater and increasing our upgrading capacity including securing bitumen feedstock for phases two and three of the Sturgeon Refinery.

We’ll demand that Ottawa impose a surtax on foreign oil that doesn’t meet Canadian environmental and labour standards. We’ll also take concrete steps to diversify our economy, including growing our agri-foods industry, so that we can be leaders in value-added agriculture. We’ll bring back incentives that will once again make Alberta a leader in the screen (film) industry, creating thousands of new highly skilled jobs.

Lastly, the Alberta Party will invest in education and get on with curriculum deployment so that the next generation of workers will have the skills and competencies required for employment in the new economy of green technology, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Cass Romyn (Green Party – Morinville-St. Albert)

The Green Party is in favour of rapid transition to renewable energy, while investing in green technological advancements, and building a green job economy in Alberta. We have policies to encourage government to engage in growing eco-friendly, green industries, while encouraging the elimination of subsidies to the extraneous petrochemical industry.

Besides energy, ecotourism is an excellent example of this type of industry, working in conjunction with environmental rehabilitation, done in a sustainable yet economy-boosting manner. This example also supports another green election platform point: the introduction of an Environmental Bill of Rights, giving all Albertans the rights to clean water, air and soil, along with the ability to hold government accountable.

Greens also advocate the implementation of a sales tax in order to provide Albertans with comparable quality of services while generating revenue needed to maintain essential social services, with any surplus contributing to debt repayment and our Heritage Fund.

Mike Van Velzen (Alberta Independence Party – Morinville-St. Albert)

For Albertans to keep those taxation (dollars) sent to the east, they can now actually have a true meaning of equity for themselves, children, grandchildren and so on. By ending our federal taxation, we will be debt-free within one year. Alberta’s provincial debt will start diminishing over the next 15 years, and/or being debt free sooner as we build additional deep water pipelines to super tankers north of BC and have clear and safe passage guaranteed by the IMO.

Ending equalization to all provinces plus additional taxation to the federal government. Removing those taxations, those numbers start at a minimum of $600 per week based on a 40-hour work week. Our veterans and retirees will receive a $3,750-per-month income, with additional top-ups up to $1,250 added to retirement pension income for long-term disabilities.

Most important, Albertans will get to enjoy a tax-free $45,000 initial tax exemption from their yearly income. Alberta will be prosperous!

Oneil Carlier (NDP – Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland)

Pipelines. Rachel Notley will get TransMountain built, which will get our resources to new markets and create tens of thousands of jobs for Albertans.

In the meantime, with the oil-price crisis she made the tough choice to limit production, getting Albertans a fairer price. Until Trans Mountain goes forward, she’s taking action by leasing rail cars to get that oil moving.

We’re diversifying the economy no doubt, but pipelines are still an integral part of our economy and they will be for a long time. When Rachel needed to be tough on Ottawa and B.C., she was. When it was time to get Canadians onside about the importance of pipelines, she did it. She is doing what Conservative and Liberal governments weren’t able to get done.

Albertans I talk to know how hard she has fought. We know she’ll get it done, and this will be a massive boost to our economy.

Don McCargar (Alberta Party – Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland)

With the forming of the new Alberta Party, I saw an opportunity for the people of Alberta to help form a party that would address the needs of our communities and of our families.

In the up and coming 2019 election, I believe our experienced leader, Steven Mandel, and his dedicated, responsible and caring candidates running to represent the people of Alberta will form the next government.

As candidates, we bring to Alberta’s political landscape a deep and mature understanding of the social concerns, health needs, employment management and economic strategies required to bring Alberta back to its rightful place as a visible, strong, prosperous global partner.

As a candidate, my track record falls into several social and economic areas that have been part of my life and which I will draw upon to provide the experience that will be needed to be a leader in the 2019 election.

Gordon McMillan (Alberta Independence Party – Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland)

AIP will upon majority election stop equalisation payments, have a referendum and once approved by majority will put over $25 billion back into Alberta.

We will eliminate carbon tax and GST, and allow $45,000.00 income before income tax becomes payable. This will amount to huge savings for Albertans. Please Google Alberta Independence Party for more info.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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