By Wes Taylor
MLA Battle River-Wainwright
A constituent called me last week to complain about the cost of living in Alberta.
An honest person, they admitted that they had voted for the NDP government, but now regretted that decision. I asked what had motivated them to vote NDP. The reply was they thought the NDP to be the party most likely to reform Alberta Health Services.
What they had not bargained for was the assault on Albertans ranging from ideological meddling in education and diminishing parental rights, the naked promotion of trade unionism, unwarranted and uniformed interference in agriculture and, an unjustifiable financial punishment for all, the carbon tax.
It was the carbon tax my constituent had greatest issue with.
Although a professional person with a relatively well-paid job they were finding it hard to make ends meet, highlighting increases in their local taxes. Astute enough to understand the difference between the direct and indirect impacts of the carbon tax they knew that these tax increases were not inspired by their council, but as an unavoidable reaction by their council to the NDPs carbon tax.
One aspect we did not discuss was the GST element of the carbon tax. Albertans should be aware that the Federal government stands to gain $150 million in GST from AB and BC tax payers – a tax on a tax.
The flood of cash leaving Alberta will only rise in subsequent years, as the Notley and Trudeau governments work to raise Alberta’s carbon tax from $10/tonne to $50/tonne.
As my constituent stated, none of this was part of the NDP’s platform during the election. They felt betrayed.
Talking elections, recently Brian Jean and Jason Kenney announced the proposed formation of a United Conservative Party. I firmly believe that the Wildrose constitution and its policies are needed to keep Alberta strong. However I consider that the minor compromises made in this Unity Agreement, are both reasonable and necessary. I hope my constituent appreciates that the chief motivation behind this proposal is to rescue Alberta from the very destructive, and frankly dishonest, behavior we are experiencing.
I salute both men for putting province before self. It would be all too easy for either man to want to hold on to the leadership of what are credible parties in their own right. It is rare to see such selfless behavior. I hope everyone would agree that these are men of conviction who are putting Alberta and Albertans first.
A quick word regarding the Interim Report by the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission. I am disappointed to see the changes being proposed to the Battle River-Wainwright riding. In my submission to the commission I majored on the need to have ridings of a manageable geographical size. I believe it important that MLAs are able to engage directly with as many constituents as possible.
The extending of the southern boundary to add Stettler, plus the inclusion of Tofield and New Serapta, while removing the towns of Holden and Ryley, defies logic. The commission has obsessed with ensuring each riding has the ‘average’ population, defined as 47,698 (being the population of Alberta divided by 87 existing ridings). Ironically my ‘new’ riding would be eight per cent above the provincial average at 50,607.
This sort of “concrete thinking” mirrors that of the NDP government. Embracing a simplistic ‘one size fits all’ concept and impose it, monolithically, on to groups with disregard for nuance or circumstances or consequences.
This is precisely what my constituent is experiencing – and clearly does not approve of. Neither do I. Change can’t come quickly enough, for either of us.