Alberta Minute: Election Underway, Wildfire Emergency, and an Expensive Campaign Promise
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Alberta election is underway and parties are on the campaign trail (more on the latest campaign promises below!). Albertans will head to the polls on May 29th to choose their next government. To find out who the candidates are in your riding, there is a searchable database online.
It’s National Nursing Week and the Alberta Association of Nurses, along with other Canadian nursing associations, is launching a #HeyNurse social media campaign. The campaign is intended to show appreciation for nurses and the care they provide.
- There are fire bans in effect across the province due to hot, dry, windy conditions and multiple wildfires (more on that below). We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to firefighters working to battle blazes across the province.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Danielle Smith, acting in her capacity as Premier despite the election, declared a Provincial State of Emergency on account of the many wildfires burning in the province. Over 100 wildfires were active in Alberta on Saturday afternoon, with more than 30 of them classified as out of control. Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued in dozens of areas, including Lac Ste. Anne, Fox Creek, Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, Strathcona County, and more. Almost 25,000 Albertans have been forced to flee their homes. Stay safe everyone, and keep an eye on the Alberta Emergency Alert website for information.
The United Conservative Party began their campaign with a tax policy announcement, promising to create a new 8% tax bracket. This would be a substantial saving for every Albertan, capped at a maximum of roughly $760 per year for those earning over $60,000. The UCP also promised to extend the Fuel Tax Holiday until December 31st, 2023, saving Albertans 13 cents per litre at the pump, approximately equivalent to the cost of the federal government’s carbon tax. Their second major campaign promise, the Alberta Job Growth and Diversification Strategy, includes a $1,200 tax credit for workers in fields with a labour shortage, a Graduation Retention Tax Credit to incentivize recent graduates in high-demand professions to stay in the province, and automatic recognition of credentials for out-of-province workers.
- The truly staggering cost of the NDP’s plan to transition the province’s electricity grid to net-zero by 2035 was revealed. The plan falls in line with the federal government’s net-zero plan. Independent reports calculated $52 billion in additional capital investments and macroeconomic costs that reduce GDP by $35 billion, for a whopping total of $87 billion. It’s the most expensive campaign promise ever made in Alberta and could raise the price of electricity by 40%. Journalist David Staples said that the cost of electricity bills could become the defining issue of the election.
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