“Albertans are worried about their jobs, their families and their future,” said Interim Leader Ric McIver, the PC Critic for Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour and MLA for Calgary-Hays. “It’s been more than five months since the NDP formed government, and we still haven’t seen the details of how it will address the more than 35,000 jobs lost in the oil and gas sector alone since May. We need to see a concrete, balanced, long-term plan that creates and keeps good jobs for Albertans and their families.”
Currently, Alberta has the highest small-business tax and the highest minimum wage in western Canada. PC Caucus wants the Alberta small-business tax rate lowered from the current three per cent to two per cent, and slower implementation of planned minimum wage increases.
“At a time when the Alberta economy is extremely fragile, the government must act in a pragmatic, practical manner that protects jobs and hard-working Albertans,” said Manmeet Bhullar, the PC Critic for Finance and Treasury Board and MLA for Calgary-Greenway. “Ideological pursuits and wishful thinking will not solve our problems.”
Caucus will also look closely at the government’s plans to introduce higher carbon taxes and royalty rates, and the level of support for innovation and technology that helps drive down greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta. That technology can be marketed in Canada and around the world.
“Resource development has to be properly managed to ensure the environment is protected,” said Rick Fraser, the PC Critic for Energy and MLA for Calgary-South East. “But Albertans are worried about the cost. Will it come at the expense of their jobs and their wallet? We need affordable and reliable energy, but this government’s plans for the early phase-out of coal-fired power generation may put us at risk of higher utility costs and gaps in our power supply.”
Other key areas for PC Caucus include infrastructure builds for highways, schools and hospitals, and market access for Alberta’s energy products, agriculture and forestry. PC Caucus will also be watching to see if the government intends to follow through on more than 2,600 new spaces – including almost 400 for long-term care – that were announced and approved earlier this year under the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) but were put on hold earlier this summer pending a review by the Seniors Minister.