Are Alberta’s NDP benefiting Albertans?

It’s almost six months since Rachel Notley and her NDP government took office. I thought it was time to rate their performance. True to her word, she has implemented several of her campaign promises. Will Albertans benefit?

It’s almost six months since Rachel Notley and her NDP government took office. I thought it was time to rate their performance. True to her word, she has implemented several of her campaign promises. Will Albertans benefit?

It took Rachel little time to introduce new minimum wage legislation. That’s good news if you’re earning minimum wage. The new legislation says that your employer must pay you a minimum of $15 an hour.

The government of Alberta has no business in determining what an employer pays their employees. If I understand this correctly, minimum wage was never intended to provide financial independence. Minimum wage is for employees entering the workforce for the first time or employees who are leaving the workforce as full-time workers but are interested in part-time work. Minimum wage earners are a very small percentage of the workforce. Yet all of us will be adversely affected by this 50 per cent wage hike.

As with her minimum wage legislation, Rachel wasted no time increasing taxes to corporations and high-income earners. Alberta, Canada’s economic driver, is fighting for its very survival. Budgets are being slashed and the fallout leaves hundreds and thousands with reduced wages or no job at all.

Before our government has the right to request 20 per cent more in taxes, they need to look in the mirror. Rachel suggests that she received a mandate six months ago for increased taxation. She is well aware that her party won the election because Jim Prentice unwittingly suggested that Albertans were to blame for Alberta’s current state of affairs. Taxes kill economies.

Last year provided the new government with a$ 500 million surplus and Rachel quickly reversed the Tory cuts to health and education. Our current systems are unsustainable. It’s time to rethink and reshape the way we do things. The oil industry will have to reinvent itself and so will health and education. Most assume that oil will rebound quickly as it has in the past. Low-priced oil is here for the long haul. A government keen on spending its way through this downturn leaves massive debt for our future generations.

Our new government is taking us down the wrong path. I believe Rachel has the best intentions in mind, but best intentions are not necessarily the right ones. Alberta needs to prepare for some very tough times. Albertans require a savvy government that can think outside the box. Increasing the minimum wage benefits only a few and negatively impacts everyone. Increased taxation and increased spending in an economy that is shrinking makes no sense at all.

Jerry Van Hemert

Red Deer

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