Kenney’s party doesn’t need taxpayer handouts

The United Conservative Party said it would stick up for taxpayers, but now the UCP is exploiting the federal wage subsidy and taking money meant for struggling Albertans.

The federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides employers affected by COVID-19 with a 75 per cent wage subsidy.

The intent of the program wasn’t to force Canadians to subsidize political parties that already receive special taxpayer treatment.

Unfortunately, four of the five sitting federal parties have helped themselves to the wage subsidy, but for Alberta taxpayers, it’s the UCP’s application that stings the most.

The UCP promised Albertans it would respect taxpayers.

“We’re committed to being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews told Albertans shortly after being elected to office.

By taking the wage subsidy, the UCP is effectively forcing the hundreds of thousands of jobless Albertans to subsidize their political activities through the downturn.

Many Albertans are laying awake “half the night” worried about their homes, like former oil and gas worker Christina Coffey, but it’s a good bet there isn’t a single taxpayer losing sleep because the UCP might have to trim its attack ad budget.

In stark contrast to Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP, premiers John Horgan, Scott Moe, Brian Pallister, Doug Ford, Francois Legault, Blaine Higgs and Dwight Ball all understand that political parties shouldn’t exploit the subsidy.

As of the time of this writing, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has confirmed that more than 20 provincial political parties have not applied for the subsidy.

And even though the federal Conservative Party has taken the subsidy, all four leadership candidates have opposed the move.

To add insult to injury, political parties already get hefty taxpayer benefits. In Alberta, people receive a 75 per cent tax credit for the first $200 they donate to a political party.

That means if you donate $200 to the UCP, you receive a tax credit of $150. If, however, you donate $200 to the Red Cross, you would only receive a $20 provincial tax credit.

These generous political tax credits have already cost Alberta taxpayers more than $14 million since 2013, according to Elections Alberta’s annual report.

During Kenney’s time with the CTF in the early 1990s, the organization took a clear stand.

“The Canadian Taxpayers Federation … opposes the use of taxpayers’ money to fund political parties,” reads the front page of the 1991 fall edition of the Taxpayer Magazine.

Here’s the most baffling part of the story: the UCP doesn’t need the money. The UCP raised about $1 million in the first quarter of 2020.

That’s significantly more than the New Democrats’ $582,130, who aren’t taking the subsidy. The UCP is like a rich guy going to a soup kitchen.

This UCP wage subsidy debacle is the latest revelation that causes concern for taxpayers. The Medicine Hat News recently reported that the average salary for 19 political staffers in the premier’s office is $155,762, with half a dozen staffers receiving more than Kenney himself.

Rank-and-file MLAs in Alberta receive more than $15,000 above the Ontario-West average (excluding Alberta) every year.

But the inflated MLA and staff pay haven’t budged during the COVID-19 economic crisis, even though hundreds of thousands of Albertans have lost their jobs and politicians around the world are reducing their salaries.

The UCP should have never taken the federal wage subsidy. Kenney and the UCP must immediately right this wrong and pay it back.

Franco Terrazzano is the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Albertans get an extra free order of COVID-19 masks

Packages will be available July 13 at fast food restaurants

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

Those on board face another 14 days in isolation

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

Police are searching for two suspects

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following home invasion

33-year-old man who arrived on bicycle is in custody

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Even pandemic can’t spoil July

July. Finally. It’s seems like the last three weird months have taken… Continue reading

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — At the foot of Mount Rushmore… Continue reading

Most Read