Alberta’s Legislature reconvened for the spring session with the Throne Speech on Thursday, March 2.
With the 2017 budget and several other divisive pieces of legislation on tap, one can expect some real fireworks. Unfortunately, if history has taught us anything it’s that when governments raise the temperature inside the chamber, regular Albertans find themselves left out in the cold.
According to the most recent update from Statistics Canada, nearly 98,000 Albertans are receiving Employment Insurance support. This is the most ever recorded. If ever there were a time for encouraging jobs and growth, it is now.
Ideas like cutting taxes, reducing red tape, making responsible reductions in government spending are needed to spur growth in our economy and support families.
Yet, our NDP government remains fixated on dividing Albertans along ideological lines, fomenting old divisions. This government’s “us vs. them” paradigm does nothing to get Albertans back to work. It does nothing to strengthen Alberta’s families. It does nothing to build our communities. Perhaps worst of all, it divides our society at a time when cooperation has never been so important.
Raising taxes and increasing spending is clearly limiting the full potential of our economy to bounce back, and more of the same can only lead to a jobless recovery.
The fact is, Premier Rachel Notley promised in her 2016 budget that she would create 100,000 private sector jobs over three years. But since her budget was introduced, Alberta has lost over 45,000 full-time jobs.
But don’t expect for this government to change course.
While claiming to consult with Albertans, the NDP refuses to disclose who was admitted to its taxpayer-funded invite-only consultations.
It is reminiscent of the phoney consultations staged in to try and justify the introduction of the carbon tax.
However, it is worth noting that for all the NDP’s transparently self-serving promotions, including millions wasted on advertising propaganda, two-thirds of Albertans remain opposed to the carbon tax.
Going into the spring session, Albertans can expect the NDP to continue pushing their agenda, regardless of public support. However, the senior government officials and unelected bureaucrats attempting to justify their control over provincial policy have forgotten something: It’s not their government. It’s yours.
They may look away from the growing unemployment rolls, they may lock you out of budget consultations, they may even use your taxes to tell you what to think, but they cannot take your voice.
Our Official Opposition stands ready to bring your thoughts, your concerns, and your desire for change to the Legislative Assembly. This is our duty in Alberta’s Parliament. It is also a real honour. There is no higher service than giving voice to those who are being ignored.
The government says our Official Opposition needs to be put in place. We know our place. It is right here, standing on your side.