The sessional calendar has just been released and Feb. 25 the spring session will begin with a new Speech from the Throne.
It will be a long session, running until the first week in June.
Our UCP government’s first year will be remembered for the prolific volume of bills passed. All in all, 29 government bills were passed in the first two sessions.
By comparison, the previous government passed nine in their first year. I expect 2020 will be no different, as there is still so much to do.
On Jan. 1, 2020 a few notable things happened; the Federal carbon tax became real in Alberta and the Job Creation Tax cut lowered Alberta’s corporate rate to 10 per cent.
Our government continues to fight against the Federal carbon tax in court, by challenging it at the Alberta Court of Appeal and supporting Saskatchewan and Ontario in their legal efforts to challenge the tax.
Our Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) plan is in place to incentivize emission reductions on medium to large emitters, but we still strongly believe the federal government should not be taxing Albertans to heat our homes, drive to work and make every part of life more expensive.
By lowering Alberta’s corporate tax another point, Alberta once again has the lowest corporate rate of all the provinces. By Jan. 1, 2022, when the corporate tax rate drops to eight per cent, Alberta will have a tax advantage on all but six U.S. states in North America.
We are already seeing this endeavour decrease flight of capital and has encouraged companies like TELUS and CNRL to begin large scale capital spends.
They have attributed these moves to the Job Creation Tax cut initiatives.
Our opponents have vocally opposed lowering this rate, claiming we “are only helping large profitable corporations”.
In truth, we watched the previous government raise the tax rate only to return lower revenues to the province.
Most companies in Alberta are not large global behemoths. Only two per cent of Alberta companies have 500 employees or more.
Most Alberta companies are small, but in aggregate employ the majority.
This is a bold move to help all. We aren’t picking winners and losers, we are levelling the playing-field for all kinds of diversified opportunities, encouraging out-of-province investment and betting on Albertans.
Many frustrated Albertans continue to contact our government offices wanting desperately to see a “fair deal” for Alberta.
The Fair Deal panel continues to travel the province and hear from Albertans. Many initiatives are being discussed: collecting our own taxes, instituting a provincial police force and breaking away from the CPP to form an Alberta Pension Plan are some of the most dominant.
We are attempting to facilitate a town hall or two in the riding, but none are confirmed yet. An online survey can be found at www.fairdeal.ca.
We are optimistic that 2020 will be the turn around year for Alberta.
Economists predict very modest growth again this year followed by a much stronger year in 2021 where Alberta will once again lead all Canadian provinces in economic growth.
We’ve had good news lately on the all-important pipeline file.
The Supreme Court of Canada rejected a move by British Columbia on Thurs. Jan. 16 to limit heavy oil moving through that province.
This reaffirms Alberta’s position that interprovincial resource projects like the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) are solely in federal jurisdiction.
The status report has changed on Keystone Export Limited (XL) and it appears that TC (Trans Canada) Energy is ready to move ahead with the US $8 billion pipeline.
We also expect Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project will be completed on the US side either later this year or in 2021.
These are welcomed developments but no one is celebrating yet.
Nate Horner, MLA,