Do you believe you are better able to create the life you dream of in Alberta today than you were four years ago?
Most Millennials will say no.
The central issue of this election campaign is the economy. The fact is Albertans have been harmed by an NDP government. Their carbon tax, specifically, raises the cost of everything. Life becomes ever-more unaffordable, particularly for Millennials who are still creating the foundations of their lives.
The NDP did not campaign on the introduction of a carbon tax in 2015, which now takes $1.4 billion out of the pockets of ordinary Albertans and the companies they work for every year. When it was introduced, the NDP said the carbon tax would be “revenue neutral” but only a third was ever “recycled” to Albertans.
No financial stability for Millennials and young families
You are a young family of four: Rachel Notley’s carbon tax has added $30 every month on average to your ENMAX bill. You are paying $1.53/ GJ for natural gas – which is more than the natural gas companies do. If the NDP are re-elected, this is likely to reach the $100 mark on the carbon levy alone. Notley’s government assumes a couple with two children earn up to $95,000 per year: do you have an extra $100 every month to put toward a higher carbon tax?
Currently, Albertans pay 19.74 percent in carbon tax on each litre of gasoline at the pumps. 13 percent is the federal rate and 6.73 percent is the provincial rate, which Notley has vowed to double. This is also taxed 5 percent GST, bringing a total of 24.73 percent in taxes per litre. So, if the NDP are re-elected, you will be paying nearly 30 cents per litre just in carbon tax. The price of food, and every other commodity, will also go up because those transportation costs will have gone up as well.
By eliminating the carbon tax, a single mother with two children will save $400 a year and save a mom and a dad with a minivan and a pickup truck in excess of $1,800 over the next four years – in gas alone. According to economists, 70% of families would receive tax cuts ranging from $25 to $1,150 with the carbon tax gone. The average small or medium-sized business would also save $4,500 a year in carbon taxes currently applied to natural gas, gasoline, and diesel.
The economic recession is getting worse
At least 100,000 petroleum jobs have been lost in Calgary alone, and they continue. This doesn’t include every other economic sector that relies on the strength and viability of the energy industry. The unemployment figures don’t account for people who have tapped out Employment Insurance or are by default retired as they’ll never have a chance to re-enter the workforce. The oil and gas heartland of downtown Calgary has a vacancy rate pushing 40 percent.
Trendy neighbourhoods suffer the same as local entrepreneurs and businesses go under. Over the span of two recent months, the 17th Avenue SW district lost 29 businesses. Kensington has lost 15 of 274 businesses since Christmas.
Because of the carbon tax, the City of Calgary lost an estimated $250 million in commercial property taxes in 2018 and Council has shifted the tax shortfall to homeowners to cover the difference; cutting a bloated bureaucracy is somehow never an option.
Stokes Economics estimates the economic benefit of eliminating the carbon tax versus a $50 carbon tax by 2024 results in higher nominal and real GDP, an increase in plant and equipment investment, 6,000 more jobs, and $1.9 billion more in retail sales by 2024.
There are no new jobs coming to save Albertans
There are more unemployed Albertans today than when the NDP took office, and the province has the highest unemployment rate outside of the Atlantic. The NDP claim new jobs have been created in the province, but this is primarily because Notley continues to expand the size of the government’s bureaucracy, a dream for her husband Lou Arab, who is a Communications Representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and an NDP campaign strategist.
This is a clear conflict of interest, as described by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): “Conflict of interest occurs when an individual or a corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit his or their own professional or official capacity in some way for personal or corporate benefit.” In other words, a conflict of interest exists when someone could abuse his or her official position for private gain. In this ongoing climate of economic falter, uncertainty, and no job security, are we all going to end up working for a union?
In their 2018 Vote Prosperity report, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce found that corporate tax increases along with the provincial carbon tax and costlier environmental regulations have resulted in weak job growth, layoffs, and the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada. One estimate indicates the carbon tax increased costs on restaurants and hospitality businesses by over $36,000 annually and new labour regulations could cost an additional $11,000 on a single statutory holiday. Additionally, 73% of businesses indicated their costs will increase due to the carbon levy, while only 21% of those businesses believe they will be able raise their prices to compensate.
We can’t afford another NDP government
You are not alone; two-thirds of Albertans have continually opposed the carbon tax.
The NDP platform offers no credible plan to get Albertans back to work, grow the economy, and reign in out-of-control finances after four years of their mismanagement. As result, Alberta is on track for $95 billion in debt by 2023. This is the equivalent of 1,185,588 nurses; 1,202,973 teachers; 4,834 schools; and 72 hospitals.
Millennials do not have reason for greater hope for their future under an NDP government. The painful consequences of unemployment across multiple generations of Albertans, from all job markets, are depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide. Millennials need a government that protects our futures instead of hobbling us with more and more debt, into a hole we can never dig ourselves out of.