When it comes to the Speech from the Throne, delivered by Governor General Julie Payette on Sept. 23, Alberta politicians are agreeing on one thing: they aren’t impressed.
Premier Jason Kenney expressed disappointment with the federal Liberals, while NDP leader Rachel Notley stated it’s clear neither the provincial or federal governments have a clear vision for Alberta, and Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins has stated he will not be voting in favour of the speech.
The throne speech promised to protect Canadians’ lives and provide financial support for as long as the pandemic continues, by extending the 75 per cent emergency wage subsidy to next summer and investing in a Canada-wide child care system, as well as expanded emergency loans for businesses and targeted industry supports.
It also pledged to collaborate with provinces to set national standards for long-term care facilities and develop a universal pharmacare program, as well as promising to take action against climate change while creating “one million new jobs.”
“Instead of listening to Canada’s provinces, the federal government doubled down on policies that will kill jobs, make Canada poorer and weaken national unity,” said Kenney in a news release.
Kenney says western premiers made it clear their priorities were health care and the economy. However, he says the throne speech was “anything but.”
“In a 6,783-word throne speech, not one word recognized the crisis facing Canada’s largest industry – the energy sector that supports 800,000 jobs, directly and indirectly,” said Kenney.
“Instead, we got a litany of policies that would strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs when we most need the industry that generates 20 per cent of government revenues in Canada.
“For a real recovery, Canada needs Alberta’s energy … Alberta has never asked for a handout. Instead, we are merely asking for the federal government to support our province in the same way that Alberta has supported Canada for generations.”
“We need a bold economic vision for the future of Alberta — and we need it now,” said Notley in a release.
“It’s clear neither the federal or provincial government has any plan for bringing Alberta out of recession and into recovery.
Alberta has been the hardest-hit among all Canadian provinces and yet there was no mention of specific support in today’s throne speech.”
Notley went on to say that the NDP are “encouraged” by news of federal investment in pharmacare and affordable child care, but details are needed.
“In addition, neither will mean anything for Albertans if Jason Kenney continues to outright reject these key elements of our economic recovery.”
Calkins stated the speech was a “massive shift towards socialism with proposed direct government interventionism into all aspects of our lives, and the demonization of those who create and generate wealth for those of us to share in,” in a news release.
He says the federal government should be focusing on rapid testing and short-term benefit programs.
“I am shocked and appalled to see the Prime Minister use an international health emergency to attempt to completely change the fabric of Canada in one fell swoop.”
Calkins says its likely EI premiums would go up for both employees and employers if the Liberals’ proposed changes to the EI program go ahead. He also criticized the lack of any supports for farmers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this document was intended to spend money in areas of the Canadian economy and society where Liberals tend to get the most votes,” he said.
“He naively believes that Canadians will believe his nonsensical assertion that all of his lofty promises will not cost Canadians anything.”