Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters about her first cabinet meeting in Calgary on Wednesday

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters about her first cabinet meeting in Calgary on Wednesday

NDP plans higher taxes for the wealthy, big business

Alberta’s New Democrats launched the post-Tory period of provincial politics Monday with a throne speech announcing bills to ban corporate and union political donations and to increase taxes on large corporations and the wealthy.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s New Democrats launched the post-Tory period of provincial politics Monday with a throne speech announcing bills to ban corporate and union political donations and to increase taxes on large corporations and the wealthy.

The bills follow through on promises made in last month’s election campaign which ended with Rachel Notley and the NDP toppling a nearly 44-year-long Progressive Conservative dynasty.

“Our political system has been far, far too dependent on funds from a narrow range of donors with deep pockets, and far too removed from the interests of ordinary people,” Notley told reporters before the throne speech. “We will tilt the playing field back in Albertans’ favour, so that their interests come first.”

The speech, read in the chamber by new Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, outlined the government’s goals and intentions for a legislature sitting expected to last just a few weeks.

The flagship bill is titled An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta and proposes to ban corporate and union donations to political parties.

Corporate donations, including hefty cheques from oil companies and other businesses, have historically made up a substantial portion of fundraising for the Progressive Conservatives. The New Democrats have relied on union donations to fill their coffers.

In 2014, the NDP brought in almost $777,000 in donations, about 11 per cent of which came from unions.

PC interim leader Ric McIver said banning corporate donations will “tilt the political scale” toward the NDP, while forcing businesses to find less-transparent avenues to get their contributions to the parties.

“If corporations want to give money, they’ll have to find a legal way to encourage other people to do it,” said McIver, one of nine Tories still holding a seat in the legislature.

The second bill, An Act to Restore Fairness to Public Revenue, proposes a “modest” increase to corporate income taxes, said Notley.

She has previously promised to raise the rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent. The small-business rate would remain at its current level of three per cent.

The bill includes a plan to scrap Alberta’s 10 per cent flat income tax and introduce higher rates on the top 10 per cent of tax filers.

“We are returning to a more typical Canadian tax system,” said Notley, who noted that the province would still have the lowest overall tax burden.

Brian Jean, leader of the official Opposition Wildrose party, said he will support the ban on political donations, but not the tax hikes.

“No government should ever consider raising taxes until it has cut waste and introduced efficiencies on how government operates,” said Jean.

The NDP plan to introduce an interim supply bill to keep the money flowing while the caucus crafts a full budget to be introduced in the fall.

Notley also announced the creation of a 17-member, all-party committee to improve accountability and fairness in areas such as whistleblower protection, electioneering and conflicts of interest.

That report is to be done within a year.

As well, Notley said Liberal Leader David Swann and NDP backbencher Danielle Larivee will co-chair a review to improve mental-health services. Recommendations are to be in place by year’s end.

Just Posted

Gabe Cuthand, Brandon McDonald, Dean Johnson and Dakota Dion drumming during a past Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at City Hall Park in Red Deer (Advocate file photo).
Indigenous People’s Day will be celebrated online on Monday

National Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated in Red Deer on Monday… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, June 18, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m.… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
AstraZeneca second dose ‘good choice’ despite federal guidance: B.C.’s top doctor

THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA — British Columbia’s top doctor says there is… Continue reading

A person walks past a colourful wall while wearing a protective mask in the warm weather during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country,… Continue reading

Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta co-founder Dieulita Datus (front left) received a Multiculturalism, Indigenous and Inclusion Grant for the organization from the Government of Alberta. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta organization promoting diversity, inclusion receives $6,000 grant from Alberta gov’t

Ubuntu was given the funds to further its work into equality and equity for all

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2021, file photo, Rajkumar Haryani, 38, who painted his body to create awareness about vaccination against the coronavirus poses for photographs after getting a dose of Covishield vaccine in Ahmedabad, India. Starting June 21, 2021, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal announced last week ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in accessing vaccines. India is a key global supplier of vaccines and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. The policy change is likely to address inequality but questions remain and shortages will continue. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
How India is changing vaccine plan amid shortages

NEW DELHI (AP) — Starting Monday, every adult in India will be… Continue reading

Chief of Defence staff General Jonathan Vance speaks during a news conference to , in Ottawa Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces says it is making progress in the fight against sexual misconduct in the ranks, but much more work needs to be done. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Freeze promotions until military commanders are screened for misconduct: Committee

OTTAWA — A parliamentary committee has called for a freeze on all… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Hussen says he is looking to municipalities to reshape local rules to more quickly build units through the government's national housing strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Cities should redo planning, permitting to align with housing strategy, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister in charge of affordable housing says he… Continue reading

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. On June 1, NACI had said AstraZeneca recipients "could" get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the "preferred" choice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

When Gwenny Farrell booked her second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets' James Harden, right, is guarded by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, center, during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Bucks bounce back to defeat Nets 104-89 and force Game 7

MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 38 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 30 and… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) brings the puck up the ice against the New York Islanders during the third period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinals, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. Tampa Bay won 2-1.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Point scores again, Lightning beat Islanders 2-1 in Game 3

Lightning 2 Islanders 1 (Tampa Bay leads series 2-1) UNIONDALE, N.Y. —… Continue reading

Most Read