Member of Legislative Assembly Report
By Brian Jean, Leader of the Official Opposition
With a new Legislative session slated to begin Oct. 31, we stand ready to again lend our voice to the people of the province.
On Jan. 1, around two months from now, the NDP government will impose its carbon tax on all Albertans. This policy will see the NDP take billions of dollars from families, communities, school boards, employers and even charities. This money will be redistributed in the form of corporate welfare to people and companies selected by the government. Albertans have a right to know how this money will be used, and who will be profiting from this direct attack on our top job-creating industries.
It is important to note that the NDP carbon tax is just one of a series of ideologically driven policies that weaken Alberta’s economy, discourage employment and drive away investment.
Across North America, rapidly increasing the minimum wage has been shown to kill jobs, with these losses impacting youth first and hardest.
We believe there is more the government can do to help those working full time but still struggling below the poverty line. However, we don’t think that taxing and regulating thousands of people out of a job will help.
Increasing business and income taxes, including soaring electricity and transmission costs, are also taking a toll on families across our province. Perhaps worst of all, the government has presented no meaningful economic analysis to support these measures. Albertans deserve a realistic assessment of the impact of these policies. Again, we will not be silent.
Sadly, difficult economic times often come with a marked increase in illegal drug use, domestic incidents, theft and other assorted crime. Alberta simply has not done enough to support women’s shelters, combat the growing threat of Fentanyl, or address an unresponsive court system. Earlier this fall, an Alberta man’s first-degree murder charges were thrown out after the case was delayed by more than 62 months.
According to Alberta Chief Justice Neil Wittmann, it is now taking about 62 weeks for criminal cases to reach trial, and civil matters can take up to 138 weeks. Justice delayed is justice denied, both for defendants and for the communities in which they live.
As this once-in-a-generation recession continues, it is important for Alberta’s government not to lose sight of the larger picture. The construction of pipelines to get our resources to global markets will benefit Albertans and all Canadians for decades. The government should be fighting for major pipelines in every direction. It is also important that our province seek a more equitable agreement on the federal equalization program. Over the years, Albertans have paid tens of billions into this program, despite not receiving an equalization payment since 1963.
At a time when optimism is a rare commodity, Albertans need hope for a better tomorrow. Where the provincial government has abdicated its role to negotiate a better deal, Wildrose has been working with economists to rectify this issue for the long term. We will bring our solutions before the Legislature.
Brian Jean is the Leader for the Official Opposition Party and Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Conklin. Jean can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 780-588-7979.
– Connect Weekly –