In response to Dale L. Watson’s letter: Prentice primed to repeat fiscal mistakes of the past (the Advocate, Thursday, Feb. 19).
Watson addresses most points I would have made and I couldn’t agree with him more!
For example that Premier Jim Prentice states: “We are all in this together,” but not higher income earners in Alberta, they don’t pay their share of taxes if Prentice doesn’t change the 10 per cent income tax to a progressive tax. Of course people with higher incomes should pay more than 10 per cent.
I also agree that corporate tax in Alberta is the lowest in Canada. It is also lower than in the U.S., where it ranges from 15 to 35 per cent, or in Germany, for example, where it is at 15 per cent. Prentice is not planing to make corporations pay their fare share either.
Royalties fall in the same pattern: the Progressive Conservatives have adopted for decades a rate of nine to 12 per cent, ridiculously low compared to other countries as well.
Who is left to pay for the shortfall, decades of financial mismanagement, wasting of millions of dollars, indulging in sense of entitlement and money squandering? (What happen to the billions coming in for the decades when oil prices where high? How come Norway manages to save a trillion or more and is pumping oil only for a decade?)
Alberta taxpayers, as usual are the ones who must pay. And its mostly the middle class and Alberta youth, where the unemployment rate lies between 15 and 25 per cent (depending where you do your research) before the oil prices crashed, and will now be even higher because of thousands of jobs lost in the oil industry. I say that because the young grads and apprentices are not established in a career, or don’t have the years of experience and therefore are much more vulnerable to economic downfalls in terms of losing their jobs or finding work than more experienced workers. Pipe fitting, for example, is on the list to bring foreign workers in; what about the two classes of pipe fitters graduating from Red Deer College next week, will they find jobs?
Prentice’s first order of business to discuss with Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to give a one-year extension to a ‘select group’ of foreign workers in Alberta to apply or complete their landed immigrant status, because the Alberta industry asked for this, which leaves our Canadian grads to compete with 80,000-plus foreign workers who are occupying Albertan’s jobs!
Prentice discussed this with Harper after the oil price downturn, knowing that thousands of jobs in the oil industry already were lost and more will be lost in Alberta. So, instead of adjusting the foreign worker program to Alberta’s new economic reality, Prentice does the opposite and asks for keeping foreign workers in Alberta permanently!
This allows Alberta employers to exceed the 30 per cent portion of foreign workers on a jobsite and abolishes Jason Kenney’s changes to the foreign worker program. It gives Alberta employers a back door way to bring in new workers, the numbers in PC fashion not disclosed!
With all kinds of proposed cutbacks in health care, education, infrastructure, etc., looming, how can Prentice justify offering these services to tens of thousands of foreign workers as well?
Recently an emergency doctor wrote an article for the Edmonton Journal about the substantial increase in waiting times in Edmonton hospitals, that can be hours now even for cases that are life-threatening and should be dealt with immediately. He was describing two cases of mothers with life-threatening pregnancy conditions coming to emergency he couldn’t attend to for five hours. If our health-care system cannot take care Canadian citizens, how can it provide service for such an rapid increase of population?
All of this points to the PCs catering to corporations and the wealthy and not the average Albertan.
I just hope that Albertans keep this in mind at the upcoming Alberta election!