Alberta is about to see a brand new premier at the head of the Legislative Assembly, which means that some big changes are coming to the province.
Following four years under the NDP, the United Conservative Party and Premier-elect Jason Kenney have made their plans clear during the election campaign over the past few months.
Here are a few things that were promised in the event that Kenney took the premiership, and exactly what they mean for the future of Alberta.
The UCP promised to cut the corporate tax rate by 1/3rd, bringing it down from 12% to 8%. The cut, according to a March 4 release from the UCP, is expected to create 55,000 jobs and grow the economy by $13 billion by 2023.
“A UCP government will implement the Job Creation Tax Cut to reduce the provincial tax rate on employers by one third, from 12% to 8% over four years,” Kenney said, in a release.
“This will make Alberta once again a magnet for job-creating investment, with the lowest taxes on employers in Canada.”
Bill 1 from the new government is expected to be the Carbon Tax Repeal Act, which would put an immediate halt on the planned 67% increase to the carbon tax.
The repeal would also subject any future carbon tax to the Alberta Taxpayer Protection Act, which would make all sales taxes require a referendum vote.
The UCP election platform states that a referendum will be held on October 18, 2021, on removing equalization from the Constitution Act if progress has not been made on a coastal pipeline and if Bill C-69 is not repealed.
The referendum, if carried out, would aim to put pressure on the federal government to make changes to the federal equalization program.
The UCP has vowed to balance the province’s budget by 2022/2023 by eliminating “waste, duplication, and non-essential spending and [creating] the fiscal space to fund key government priorities.”
Included in the savings and efficiencies would be cutting the premier’s salary by 10% and MLA’s salaries by 5%, scrapping the NDP’s plan to spend $3.7 billion on shipping crude by rail, cancelling the planned $590-million Edmonton Laboratory Clinical Hub, and allowing the private sector to deliver laundry services to AHS.
Kenney has stated that, if elected, he would proclaim the Education Act, which would replace the NDP’s School Act and many of the amendments that came along with Bill 24 — most notably, the requirement for school principals to grant permission for students to form gay-straight alliances immediately and for all schools to have public policies that protect LGBTQ+ students.
A return to 2014’s Education Act would also remove the stipulation that members of gay-straight alliance groups could not be outed to their parents by their teachers, which has been challenged by private schools and parents since it was first implemented.
Kenney’s 14-point education plan also called for a return to the 50/50 split between diploma and school grades for Grade 12, report cards that are easier for parents to understand, maintained or increased educational funding, an audit of class sizes, and an end to discovery learning.
“As math scores plunge and report cards become increasingly difficult to understand, a United Conservative government will reset the curriculum rewrite, restore fundamentals to math and affirm the primary role of parents in choosing how their children are taught,” Kenney said, in the March 25 announcement.