By Emily Jaycox For the Independent
Mark Nikota, Stettler-Drumheller Alberta Party candidate, spoke to Stettler County Council during its regular meeting March 13.
Coun. James Nibourg asked Nikota what the Alberta Party’s overall financial plan is for the province.
“You can’t spend your way to prosperity and you can’t slash your way to prosperity either,” said Nikota.
Nikota says that the UCP’s plan to cut large corporation taxes isn’t necessarily the best solution.
The trickle down effect may create some jobs, but corporations may also decide to just pocket the difference.
It was the small and medium-sized businesses that “really got hammered” with the minimum wage hike, carbon tax, and business tax increases, he says.
Cutting taxes to small and medium-sized businesses will have a more meaningful impact, says Nikota.
Coun. Cheri Neitz asked how the Alberta Party plans to combat rural crime.
Nikota says they will support local justice, but to reduce rural crime, one has to tackle the underlying causes such as unemployment, addictions and mental health instead of “throwing money at the police.”
Coun. Wayne Nixon asked Nikota how the Alberta Party would restore investor confidence in Alberta.
Nikota answered that while corporate tax is a factor in investor confidence, Alberta’s corporate tax is still one of the lowest in the country and a larger factor is stable governance.
On the topic of the provincial carbon tax, Nikota says the Alberta Party, if elected, would eliminate tax on home and business heating but keep some element of the current industrial carbon tax.
The Alberta Party’s plan to get pipelines moving is to discover where the “disconnect is” between approval and pipelines actually getting built.
There is a “regulatory hurdle” in the bureaucracy and finding it will allow projects to move forward, he says.
“As much as we complain about pipelines and carbon tax, I really want to focus on communities,” said Nikota.
Nibourg brought up the issue of the Red Deer hospital being in dire need of upgrading.
“We can’t spend out way our of a problem” said Nikota.
Rather than just spending money on the Red Deer hospital, a better strategy may be to change the system so underutilized centres like Stettler could provide more services to people from the cities waiting in lines, he says.
Nikota says if elected, he would handle such a large constituency but “staying in constant contact” and commit to visiting each community every one-to-two years.