Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, my heart goes out to all the Albertans that have lost jobs, including the 185 from TransCanada that we heard of today. The Premier said today that her intent is to get Albertans off the oil and gas roller coaster, but is it her intent to move them off the roller coaster and right into the unemployment line? With higher business taxes, a royalty review, a new climate change strategy, increasing the minimum wage in a downturn, reviewing the mandate of the Alberta Energy Regulator, it’s no wonder businesses are holding off on making new investments or even following through with the existing commitments they have today.
Just yesterday the Financial Post reported that the uncertainty surrounding Alberta’s policy on oil and gas royalties has already caused several companies to shift capital to other provinces, and this should come as no surprise. A securities analyst was quoted as saying that land sale activity, which is a key indicator for future drilling and investment intentions, is expected to increase in British Columbia and Saskatchewan in 2016-17 at Alberta’s expense.
I find it ironic that we keep hearing the government say that they need four, five, six months or maybe longer to conduct multiple reviews before they can bring down their budget, yet this same government expects Alberta businesses, who create many of the jobs in this province, to only have six days to change their budgets to accommodate the new policies.
Mr. Speaker, we’re not just talking about numbers. We’re not talking statistics. We’re talking about Alberta families. These families want to take care of their children and their aging parents. In order to do that, they need a job. When Albertans lose jobs, that goes far beyond politics. These are life-changing events caused by policies being rushed by this government without enough thought or consultation.
To the government: slow it down; protect Albertan jobs.
On June 23, 2015, Rick Fraser focused on the long-term impacts of energy policies on Alberta's families:
On June 6, 2016, Wayne Drysdale proposed to protect the tree nursery industry from carbon tax impacts since that industry removes carbon from the air.
Motion that Bill 20, Climate Leadership Implementation Act, be amended in schedule 1 as follows.
(a) Section 4(1) is amended by adding the following after clause (c):
(c.1) fuel used in connection with the forestry industry or commercial tree nursery industry in the circumstances set out in the regulations, and
(b) Section 79(1) is amended by adding the following after clause (b):
(b.1) prescribing, for the purposes of section 4(1)(c.1), the circumstances in which fuel is used in connection with the forestry industry or commercial tree nursery industry.
This is a relatively straightforward amendment. It looks to provide a little extra bit of support for those in our forestry industry and commercial tree nursery industry. This amendment would mean fuel use in the forestry industry and commercial tree nursery industry would be exempt from paying a carbon tax under section 4(1), and the circumstances would be prescribed in the regulations. The regulations would have the power to outline what, exactly, could be exempt.
On June 6, 2016, Richard Starke sought to ensure that aviation fuel tax increases due to Alberta's new Carbon Tax would not harm Alberta's tourism industry.
Motion that Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, be amended in schedule 1 as follows.
In part A section 7 is struck out;
in part B section 25 is amended by striking out subsection (1)(i) and, in subsection (2), by striking out “7”;
in part C sections 27(1)(a)(xii) and (xiii) are struck out;
in part D section 61 is amended by striking out “7”;
in part E the schedule is amended by striking out sections 1(1)(a) and (b);
and in part F the table to the schedule is amended by striking out the following:
Aviation gas 4.98 ¢/L 7.47 ¢/L
Aviation jet fuel 5.17 ¢/L 7.75 ¢/L
Placing a disincentive on increased use of aviation and commercial aviation makes absolutely no sense and runs directly counter to a number of the stated goals of the government. They want to diversify the economy, and they want to create jobs, but if you put a tax on aviation fuel, you will have exactly the opposite effect.
On June 6, 2016, Mike Ellis amended Bill 20 to increase transparency and accountability on the part of government investigators.
Motion that Bill 20, Climate Leadership Implementation Act, be amended in schedule 1 as follows: (a) section 54 is amended by adding the following after subsection (2).
(2.1) If any record or property is provided to the Minister or an officer pursuant to section (1)(c) or (d), the Minister or officer shall give a receipt to the person who provided the record or property for any record or property provided at a location other than at the premises at which the record or property is kept.
And (b) section 58 is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):
(3.1) If any record is removed by the Minister or an officer pursuant to subsection (3), the Minister or officer shall give a receipt for the records to the person who provided the records
This amendment, Madam Chair, would require an inspector under part 3 to provide receipts for records that they take for the purpose of copying them. Receipts enable both the person being investigated and the inspector to keep accurate track of the records removed for copying. An amendment would be required to the following clauses which concern the minister or an inspector or investigator to remove records: 54(2)(b) and 58(3).
On June 6, 2016, Richard Gotfried proposed to protect small businesses from the new carbon tax.
Motion to amend Bill 20, Climate Leadership Implementation Act, in schedule 2 by adding the following after section 2(5):
(5.1) Any grants, contributions or loans, or loan guarantees provided or issued by the Corporation pursuant to subsection (5) shall prioritize innovation, energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gases by small businesses.
This amendment would see the newly formed Energy Efficiency Alberta prioritize the sustainability of small businesses when providing grants, loans, and pilot programs. This gesture will help small businesses by providing assistance as they address increased costs associated with the carbon tax. It will lead to meaningful cost and emissions reductions, achieve energy conserving efficiencies, and prioritize entrepreneurship, innovation, and competitiveness amongst the small-business sector.
On July 6, 2016, Richard Starke called for more respect for Holodomor victims.
Mr. Speaker, in my maiden speech, four years ago this week, I related some of my family history. Most members know that I’m very proud of my German heritage, but there’s more to that story. My mother’s family was German, and she grew up in a village of German Lutherans. But the village wasn’t in Germany; it was in Ukraine.
On June 2, 2016, Sandra Jansen sought to require regular review of the Carbon Tax law to ensure that it still served the needs of Albertans.
Motion that Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, be amended in schedule 1 by adding the following to section 79:
Minister to report
79.1(1) In this section, “Climate Leadership Plan” means the Government’s Climate Leadership Plan announced on November 22, 2015.
(2) No later than 15 days after the commencement of the first sitting in 2019, the Minister shall lay a report before the Legislative Assembly that includes a cost impact assessment of the carbon levy established under this Act and an update on the current status of emissions in the province and how this compares to the emission reduction targets identified in the Climate Leadership Plan.
Review of Act
79.2 Following the tabling of the Minister’s report under section 79.1, and no later than January 1, 2020, a committee of the Legislative Assembly must begin a comprehensive review of this Act and the regulations made thereunder and must submit to the Legislative Assembly, within 6 months after beginning the review, a report that includes the committee’s recommendations for amendments to this Act, the regulations made under this Act or any other enactment.
This amendment calls for the minister to do a full analysis of the carbon tax one year after it’s implemented, and it also calls for a legislative standing committee to fully review the carbon tax and to present recommendations two full years after the tax is implemented.
On June 1, 2016, Ric McIver proposed an amendment that would make Alberta's new carbon tax revenue neutral.
Motion that the Climate Leadership Implementation Act be amended in schedule 1 by striking out section 3(2) and substituting the following:
(2) The revenue from the carbon levy may only be used to provide rebates or adjustments related to the carbon levy to consumers, businesses and communities, including adjustments in the form of tax credits or tax rate reductions.
My intention with the amendment, Madam Chair, is to make the carbon levy revenue neutral. Of course, that would do several things that I think would improve the bill dramatically. First of all, it would actually focus the money taken from Albertans in the form of a tax – I know that the government calls it a levy – and it would make sure that it gets used in the economy. In other words, the amount of tax that comes out of the economy goes back in in other tax cuts, making it truly revenue neutral.
On May 31, 2016, Mike Ellis spoke to the legacy of Alberta's Heritage Fund.
Two weeks ago our Progressive Conservative caucus toured the Li Ka Shing centre for health research, a world-class facility, where renowned cancer researchers are refining life-saving cell transplant surgery. We were proud to learn about the state-of-the art centre and the globe-leading professionals it has attracted to our province. When one of the scientists told us that the heritage fund is the reason for the centre’s existence, I felt a surge of pride for a government that had the vision to create this kind of fund. Then I grew concerned because I’m all too aware that many people have misrepresented the heritage fund. So let me offer some facts to clear up the record.
On May 30, 2016, Ric McIver sought more decorum and respect for guests at Alberta's Legislature:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A veteran recently said to me: in my time in service I met some generals that I would not cross the street to say hello to, but I will salute every one of them out of respect for the rank they hold. Every party in this House would like their party leader to occupy the office of the Premier. Because of this, we must remember to respect the office even if we disagree with the party in government.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.