Jump to navigation
On Thursday, October 24, the Alberta government released the provincial budget, which was nothing short of a brutal frontal assault on province’s public services, workers and the poor. The government outlined it would cut program spending by 2.8% over the next four years. This 2.8%, the largest cut to provincial program spending in 25 years, will reduce 7.7% of the public sector in the next four years, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.
The UCP budget will also give a 4.5 billion dollar tax cut to the rich and implement the ‘Alberta Job Creation Tax Cut’, which cuts the tax rate for large corporations from twelve to eight percent by 2022. Albertans will pay for these tax cuts in the form of layoffs, austerity and cuts to municipalities, social assistance and other services.
The budget follows the release of last months ‘MacKinnon Panel Report’, an 84-page document with 26 recommendations of how to “balance the budget” by 2023. The report was written by a six-person board made up of former deputy ministers, people from the academic sector, the CEO of ATB financial, and led by former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister Janice MacKinnon. It recommended cutting the operating budget of the province by $600 million a year off the backs of workers through cuts to Alberta’s public services.
The most concerning aspects of the MacKinnon report targeted education, healthcare and social services for cuts and privatization. The budget followed the recommendations of the report specifically related to post-secondary education, which cuts 5.1% across 26 institutions, with plans to link funding to “performance”, ends the five year tuition freeze, increases the cost of student loans, and allows institutions to increase tuition yearly by 7%, which could result in a 21% raise in tuition fees over the next three years. Private Christian post-secondary schools however, will be exempt from the cuts....
Tar Sands Trial boosted: Beaver Lake Cree awarded advance costs
This week, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted advance costs to Beaver Lake Cree Nation to allow it to proceed with its “Tar Sands Trial” treaty case against Canada and Alberta.
It’s a huge breakthrough for a case that’s been called ‘a gamechanger’ for Indigenous rights in Canada. Now, after years of fundraising and pulling funds from critical community development initiatives to fund the case, Beaver Lake Cree will have the majority of the resources they need to mount a vigorous, well-researched case.
Why? Because the Court ruled that a case that aims to determine just what treaties are worth in the face of rapid industrialization is of “national importance”.
With this advance cost award, Beaver Lake Cree Nation will have the financial resources to pursue a case which could transform “business as usual” in the oil sands, slowing expansion and forcing every project to be evaluated according to impacts on treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Tar Sands Trial would force regulators to consider cumulative effects of industrial development, including fracking and in-situ oil sands extraction. At its core, the case is about upholding the treaties – which enshrine powerful Indigenous rights – ahead of approving projects, such as tar sands extraction, that could render those rights meaningless.
Today, we are one giant leap closer to setting a legal precedent that will uphold the treaties that this country is founded upon.....
Corporation that received $55 million tax handout from Kenney relocates to the U.S.
Earlier last week, Canadian fossil fuel giant Encana decided to move its corporate headquarters to the United States. Premier Jason Kenney was quick to lay blame on the federal government. Encana’s CEO dismissed the notion that the move was a political decision.
Interestingly, what has been overlooked is the fact that Encana decided to make the transition despite incentives offered by Kenney’s own government.
Earlier this year, Alberta’s United Conservative government rolled out a tax cut for large corporations. The “Job Creation Tax Cut” was meant to appease companies that increasingly see Albertan oil and gas as a bad investment.
According to Encana’s internal documents, the decrease to the corporate tax resulted in them pocketing a cool $55 million. Their departure from Alberta illustrates why government policy alone does not dictate corporate decision-making. Indeed, Encana’s CEO himself revealed that the move was made in order to tap into greener pastures in the United States.
Kenney had presented himself as the candidate that would return Alberta to an era of prosperity. His corporate tax cut, he promised, would lure investment and retain disgruntled corporations. So far this has not panned out.
and Kenney lol tells Quebec...he is a whack....
He is playing. It is meaningless political theatre. He wanted to get a rise out of Kenny and he did. Interestingly it will play out well in their respective provinces for them.
There will be no new pipeline through Quebec.
Kenney is whacked and over played his hand.
Albertans aren't paying attention to what he said about this. they are too busy being pissed about the new social conservative back bench bill. michelle rempel has even weighed in on it.
oh don cherry.
michelle rempel has even weighed in on it.
michelle rempel has even weighed in on it.
Did you know there's a $1.6-billion federal bailout package for Alberta's oil industry?
Canada's $1.6-billion bailout package for Alberta's battered oil industry is well underway but with little transparency about who is getting the money and for what.
Almost $1 billion of the package of loans, guarantees and government grants announced last December is in the hands of companies but details are available for just a small fraction of the spending.
Two Alberta petrochemical projects each received $49 million for new facilities to turn propane into a type of plastic, while about $37 million flowed to various oil and gas companies to develop or buy technology to reduce their environmental impact.
The funds are flowing as pressure is mounting on Canadian banks and investment firms to reconsider their backing of fossil-fuel projects as major national banks in Europe have begun to flee the sector, citing climate change risks and a transitioning global economy.
Export Development Canada, which set aside $1 billion in the national bailout for loans and loan guarantees, said earlier this year it was getting out of the coal business but would continue to aid oil and gas companies.....
Jason Kenney’s UCP Under Fire For Accusing High School Teachers of Being Disloyal to Oil Industry
Alberta’s Minister of Education is receiving low marks for her performance after she offered an anonymous, unverified high school test as proof teachers are engaging in subversive activities.
The antics began when UCP MLA Richard Gotfried told the Alberta Legislature that an unnamed parent sent him a copy of a grade 10 test from an unnamed high school containing “deeply concerning anti-oil and gas rhetoric.”
Gotfried claimed the anonymous test contained unspecified “attacks on capitalism,” including questions that suggest the development of Alberta’s resources could lead to the “destruction” of “forests.” He also said the test promotes the idea of placing unnamed “restrictions” on oil companies.
Reading from a script, LaGrange called the anonymous test “troubling” and asserted that “educators have a duty to tell the truth about our responsible energy industry.”
“This type of ideology has no place in our schools,” the education minister added.
The Alberta Teachers Association, which represents the province’s 40,000 teachers, issued its own statement questioning why LaGrange would not release a full and complete copy of the anonymous test.
The ATA also expressed concern that Kenney’s education minister was trying to “undermine faith in the public education system.”