Alberta Minute: Equalization Payments, PST Push, and Three Carbon Tax Court Cases
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- On Wednesday, Canada's Governor General will present the Speech from the Throne. The Speech already has anxiety running high in Alberta as the federal government's rhetoric includes phrases like build back better, the new green economy, and deficit-financed spending. Further attacks on Alberta's Oil and Gas industry are also expected.
- The Select Special Democratic Accountability Committee is scheduled to meet twice this week. On Wednesday, the Committee will receive testimony on Citizen Initiated Referenda, while on Thursday they will consider Recall initiatives.
- The Supreme Court of Canada will hear three appeals against the federal carbon tax. The Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta governments have all challenged the federal law. Courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario ruled in favour of the federal government while the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the law unconstitutional. The cases could be incredibly pivotal - if the law is ultimately upheld it will represent a dramatic further expansion of federal government power over provincial jurisdiction.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Premier Kenney is demanding Ottawa return $6.5 billion in so-called "reverse equalization". But is $6.5 billion enough? Between 1961 and 2020, Albertans paid $661 billion more to Ottawa than we have received back in federal spending. What we really need is structural reform, not a 1% refund.
- The full-court press for a Provincial Sales Tax by unions, left-wing activists, and media continued with a new poll showing a growing (but still minority) share of Albertans support the idea. Most concerning, UCP Finance Minister, Travis Toews, refused to rule out introducing a sales tax, committing only that it wouldn't happen just now.
- Taxes continue to be an average family's largest annual expense, even during the current pandemic, according to an annual report released by the Fraser Institute. The average Canadian family (including single Canadians) earned $91,535 and paid $38,963 in total taxes - that’s 42.6% of our income going to taxes. To put this in perspective, the second highest expenditure for the average Canadian family was housing costs (including rent and mortgage payments) and totalled $19,685 or 21.5% of average income.
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