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Province of Alberta

The 29th Legislature
Fourth Session
Alberta Hansard

Tuesday morning, May 15, 2018

Day 30

The Honourable Robert E. Wanner, Speaker


Legislative Assembly of Alberta
The 29th Legislature
Fourth Session
Wanner, Hon. Robert E., Medicine Hat (NDP), Speaker
Jabbour, Deborah C., Peace River (NDP), Deputy Speaker and Chair of
Committees
Sweet, Heather, Edmonton-Manning (NDP), Deputy Chair of Committees

Aheer, Leela Sharon, Chestermere-Rocky View (UCP),
Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition
Anderson, Hon. Shaye, Leduc-Beaumont (NDP)
Anderson, Wayne, Highwood (UCP)
Babcock, Erin D., Stony Plain (NDP)
Barnes, Drew, Cypress-Medicine Hat (UCP)
Bilous, Hon. Deron, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview (NDP)
Carlier, Hon. Oneil, Whitecourt-Ste. Anne (NDP)
Carson, Jonathon, Edmonton-Meadowlark (NDP)
Ceci, Hon. Joe, Calgary-Fort (NDP)
Clark, Greg, Calgary-Elbow (AP),
Alberta Party Opposition House Leader
Connolly, Michael R.D., Calgary-Hawkwood (NDP)
Coolahan, Craig, Calgary-Klein (NDP)
Cooper, Nathan, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (UCP)
Cortes-Vargas, Estefania, Strathcona-Sherwood Park (NDP),
Government Whip
Cyr, Scott J., Bonnyville-Cold Lake (UCP)
Dach, Lorne, Edmonton-McClung (NDP)
Dang, Thomas, Edmonton-South West (NDP)
Drever, Deborah, Calgary-Bow (NDP)
Drysdale, Wayne, Grande Prairie-Wapiti (UCP)
Eggen, Hon. David, Edmonton-Calder (NDP)
Ellis, Mike, Calgary-West (UCP)
Feehan, Hon. Richard, Edmonton-Rutherford (NDP),
Deputy Government House Leader
Fildebrandt, Derek Gerhard, Strathmore-Brooks (IC)
Fitzpatrick, Maria M., Lethbridge-East (NDP)
Fraser, Rick, Calgary-South East (AP)
Ganley, Hon. Kathleen T., Calgary-Buffalo (NDP),
Deputy Government House Leader
Gill, Prab, Calgary-Greenway (UCP),
Official Opposition Deputy Whip
Goehring, Nicole, Edmonton-Castle Downs (NDP)
Gotfried, Richard, Calgary-Fish Creek (UCP)
Gray, Hon. Christina, Edmonton-Mill Woods (NDP)
Hanson, David B., Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills (UCP)
Hinkley, Bruce, Wetaskiwin-Camrose (NDP)
Hoffman, Hon. Sarah, Edmonton-Glenora (NDP)
Horne, Trevor A.R., Spruce Grove-St. Albert (NDP)
Hunter, Grant R., Cardston-Taber-Warner (UCP)
Jansen, Hon. Sandra, Calgary-North West (NDP)
Kazim, Anam, Calgary-Glenmore (NDP)
Kenney, Hon. Jason, PC, Calgary-Lougheed (UCP),
Leader of the Official Opposition
Kleinsteuber, Jamie, Calgary-Northern Hills (NDP)
Larivee, Hon. Danielle, Lesser Slave Lake (NDP),
Deputy Government House Leader
Littlewood, Jessica, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (NDP) Loewen, Todd,
Grande Prairie-Smoky (UCP)
Loyola, Rod, Edmonton-Ellerslie (NDP)
Luff, Robyn, Calgary-East (NDP)
Malkinson, Brian, Calgary-Currie (NDP)
Mason, Hon. Brian, Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood (NDP),
Government House Leader
McCuaig-Boyd, Hon. Margaret,
Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley (NDP)
McIver, Ric, Calgary-Hays (UCP),
Official Opposition Whip
McKitrick, Annie, Sherwood Park (NDP)
McLean, Hon. Stephanie V., Calgary-Varsity (NDP)
McPherson, Karen M., Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill (AP)
Miller, Barb, Red Deer-South (NDP)
Miranda, Hon. Ricardo, Calgary-Cross (NDP)
Nielsen, Christian E., Edmonton-Decore (NDP)
Nixon, Jason, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre (UCP),
Official Opposition House Leader
Notley, Hon. Rachel, Edmonton-Strathcona (NDP),
Premier
Orr, Ronald, Lacombe-Ponoka (UCP)
Panda, Prasad, Calgary-Foothills (UCP)
Payne, Hon. Brandy, Calgary-Acadia (NDP)
Phillips, Hon. Shannon, Lethbridge-West (NDP)
Piquette, Colin, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater (NDP)
Pitt, Angela D., Airdrie (UCP),
Official Opposition Deputy House Leader
Renaud, Marie F., St. Albert (NDP)
Rosendahl, Eric, West Yellowhead (NDP)
Sabir, Hon. Irfan, Calgary-McCall (NDP)
Schmidt, Hon. Marlin, Edmonton-Gold Bar (NDP)
Schneider, David A., Little Bow (UCP)
Schreiner, Kim, Red Deer-North (NDP)
Shepherd, David, Edmonton-Centre (NDP)
Sigurdson, Hon. Lori, Edmonton-Riverview (NDP)
Smith, Mark W., Drayton Valley-Devon (UCP)
Starke, Dr. Richard, Vermilion-Lloydminster (PC)
Stier, Pat, Livingstone-Macleod (UCP)
Strankman, Rick, Drumheller-Stettler (UCP)
Sucha, Graham, Calgary-Shaw (NDP)
Swann, Dr. David, Calgary-Mountain View (AL)
Taylor, Wes, Battle River-Wainwright (UCP)
Turner, Dr. A. Robert, Edmonton-Whitemud (NDP)
van Dijken, Glenn, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (UCP)
Westhead, Cameron, Banff-Cochrane (NDP),
Deputy Government Whip
Woollard, Denise, Edmonton-Mill Creek (NDP)
Yao, Tany, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo (UCP)
Vacant, Fort McMurray-Conklin
Vacant, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Party standings:
New Democratic: 54 United Conservative: 25 Alberta Party: 3 Alberta
Liberal: 1 Progressive Conservative: 1 Independent Conservative: 1 Vacant:
2

Officers and Officials of the Legislative Assembly
Robert H. Reynolds, QC, Clerk
Shannon Dean, Law Clerk and Director of
House Services
Stephanie LeBlanc, Senior Parliamentary
Counsel
Trafton Koenig, Parliamentary Counsel Philip Massolin, Manager of Research
and
Committee Services
Nancy Robert, Research Officer
Janet Schwegel, Managing Editor of
Alberta Hansard Brian G. Hodgson, Sergeant-at-Arms
Chris Caughell, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms
Paul Link, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms
Gareth Scott, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms


Executive Council

Rachel Notley Premier, President of Executive Council

Sarah Hoffman Deputy Premier, Minister of Health

Shaye Anderson Minister of Municipal Affairs

Deron Bilous Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Oneil Carlier Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Joe Ceci President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

David Eggen Minister of Education

Richard Feehan Minister of Indigenous Relations

Kathleen T. Ganley Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Christina Gray Minister of Labour,
Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal

Sandra Jansen Minister of Infrastructure

Danielle Larivee Minister of Children's Services

Brian Mason Minister of Transportation

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd Minister of Energy

Stephanie V. McLean Minister of Service Alberta,
Minister of Status of Women

Ricardo Miranda Minister of Culture and Tourism

Brandy Payne Associate Minister of Health

Shannon Phillips Minister of Environment and Parks,
Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

Irfan Sabir Minister of Community and Social Services

Marlin Schmidt Minister of Advanced Education

Lori Sigurdson Minister of Seniors and Housing

Parliamentary Secretaries

Jessica Littlewood Economic Development and Trade for Small Business

Annie McKitrick Education


STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA

Standing Committee on the
Alberta Heritage Savings
Trust Fund

Chair: Mr. Coolahan
Deputy Chair: Mrs. Schreiner

Cyr
Dang
Ellis
Horne Luff
McPherson
Turner Standing Committee on
Alberta's Economic Future

Chair: Mr. Sucha
Deputy Chair: Mr. van Dijken

Carson
Connolly
Coolahan
Dach
Fitzpatrick
Gotfried
Horne Littlewood
McPherson
Piquette
Schneider
Starke
Taylor Standing Committee on
Families and Communities

Chair: Ms Goehring
Deputy Chair: Mr. Smith

Drever
Ellis
Fraser
Hinkley
Luff
McKitrick
Miller Orr
Renaud
Shepherd
Swann
Woollard
Yao Standing Committee on
Legislative Offices

Chair: Mr. Shepherd
Deputy Chair: Mr.
Malkinson

Aheer
Gill
Horne
Kleinsteuber
Littlewood McKitrick
Pitt
van Dijken
Woollard

Special Standing Committee
on Members' Services

Chair: Mr. Wanner
Deputy Chair: Cortes-Vargas

Babcock
Cooper
Dang
Drever
McIver Nixon
Piquette
Pitt
Westhead Standing Committee on
Private Bills

Chair: Ms Kazim
Deputy Chair: Connolly

Anderson, W.
Babcock
Drever
Drysdale
Hinkley
Kleinsteuber
McKitrick Orr
Rosendahl
Stier
Strankman
Sucha
Taylor Standing Committee on
Privileges and Elections,
Standing Orders and
Printing

Chair: Ms Fitzpatrick
Deputy Chair: Ms Babcock

Carson
Coolahan
Cooper
Goehring
Gotfried
Hanson
Kazim Loyola
Miller
Nielsen
Nixon
Pitt
van Dijken Standing Committee on
Public Accounts

Chair: Mr. Cyr
Deputy Chair: Mr. Dach

Barnes
Carson
Clark
Gotfried
Hunter
Littlewood
Luff Malkinson
Miller
Nielsen
Panda
Renaud
Turner

Standing Committee on
Resource Stewardship

Chair: Loyola
Deputy Chair: Mr. Drysdale

Babcock
Clark
Dang
Fildebrandt
Hanson
Kazim
Kleinsteuber Loewen
Malkinson
Nielsen
Panda
Rosendahl
Schreiner


May 15, 2018 Alberta Hansard 1061

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Title: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 9:00 a.m.
10 a.m. Tuesday, May 15, 2018

[Ms Sweet in the chair]

head: Prayers

The Acting Speaker: Good morning.
Let us each pray and reflect in our own way. May we always do
the right thing unto others as we journey through this maze of life,
where we are but servants chosen by others to bear the burdens, the
challenges, and the duties of public life.
Please be seated.

head: Orders of the Day

The Acting Speaker: The hon. Deputy Government House Leader.

Ms Ganley: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I request
unanimous consent to waive Standing Order 3(1) to allow the
Assembly to recess at this time and reconvene at 11 this morning.

[Unanimous consent granted]

[The Assembly adjourned from 10:01 a.m. to 11 a.m.]

The Acting Speaker: Please be seated.

head: Government Bills and Orders
Second Reading

Bill 2
Growth and Diversification Act

Mr. Cooper moved the motion for second reading of Bill 2, Growth
and Diversification Act, be amended by deleting all of the words
after “that” and substituting the following:
Bill 2, Growth and Diversification Act, be not now read a second
time because the Assembly is of the view that the government
should pursue other measures to reduce the cost of doing business
in the province, including introduction of legislation to eliminate
the carbon levy, which, if implemented, would make the
measures proposed in the bill unnecessary.

[Debate adjourned on the amendment May 9: Mrs. Aheer speaking]

The Acting Speaker: Hon. members, are any members wishing to
speak to the amendment? The hon. Member for Cypress-Medicine
Hat.

Mr. Barnes: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate the chance
to rise and talk a bit about our reasoned amendment. Of course, the
reasoned amendment should be supported. It's totally logical and
makes total sense because of what's happening in Alberta right now
and what this three-year accidental government has done and what
they haven't done. It's been said in here already that just repealing
the carbon tax would do more to stimulate economic development
in the economy than this picking winners and losers, this creating
huge levels of bureaucracy to have yet another law.
I want to talk about the carbon tax for a sec and the number of
people I bump into in coffee shops, restaurants, the number of
people that e-mail me, text me, send letters to my constituency
office that talk about the $35 carbon tax on their bill when the
electricity charge portion is $50 or $60. When they couple that with
high administration charges, Madam Speaker, it's absolutely crystal
clear that because this money comes out of so many hard-working Albertans'
pockets, so many family budgets, these people don't
have enough left over to support the businesses in their community,
to support their favourite charities, and to support each other. A
reduction of the carbon tax, just in the everyday pocketbooks of
everyday Albertans, everyone included, would go a long, long way
to stimulate the economy.
Of course, when we realize that this money was transferred from
the pockets of hard-working Albertans, from the balance sheets of
successful and struggling small businesses to big renewable
companies, to ideological phasing out of coal early, you just think
of what we've got for this money, and it's absolutely huge, huge
steps back. Madam Speaker, just the elimination of the carbon tax
alone would ensure that Albertans can support their communities
rather than support costly NDP lawsuits because of the early coal
phase-outs, costly lawsuits that have absolutely destroyed our
competitive advantage of cheap carbon.
Madam Speaker, of course, as we all know, the NDP expert that
designed the climate leadership plan, the professor from the
University of Alberta, mused about carbon leakage. He mused
about industries, that instead of setting up in Alberta, instead of
paying $10 million, $20 million, or $40 million in carbon tax
because of using a virtually clean fuel like natural gas, what they've
done is that they've gone to Montana, Saskatchewan, Louisiana,
and other jurisdictions.
Madam Speaker, in Medicine Hat we have a great company
called Methanex, an absolutely great corporate citizen, a great
company, a great corporation. About two weeks ago the
announcement on the front page of the Medicine Hat News was that
instead of expanding in Alberta, Methanex has picked Louisiana.
Again, you see that when you talk to many of these people who
were around the edges of similar boutique tax credits, their
preference was: no, for government to get its spending in line, for
government to get its taxation fair, for government to ensure that all
businesses have an equal opportunity. Of course, they, like so many
others, have voted with their feet.
Madam Speaker, I was in Beaumont last week, and I was meeting
with three younger drilling executives, guys who had come into the
coffee shop in their work clothes. I came up and I introduced myself
and shook their hands, and I said, “Isn't it great news that oil hit
$72 a barrel?” The answer I got was: “It doesn't matter. We've just
sent all our rigs to Texas. Taxes are too high here. Regulation is
onerous.” It's unlikely they'll come back because – guess what? –
the price of oil is also $72 in Texas.
Then one of them talked about this government's huge spending
ways, its $8.8 billion operating deficit, its $15 billion or 15 and a
half billion dollars combined deficit, and how he knew that today's
debt is just a future tax. He knew how businesses and younger
people were likely to be the targets and the ones that faced the most
burden of that huge debt. He knew full well that this government is
headed towards $96 billion, minimum, in debt in just three more
years. Madam Speaker, and he was absolutely a believer that that
was a future tax on him, a future tax on his kids, and a future tax on
his industry, where other jurisdictions don't have that burden that
has to be paid off by future generations.
Madam Speaker, that reminds me of that U of C report from
about 10 days ago now. It's alarming – absolutely alarming – that a
16-year-old Albertan today is faced with a minimum of $42,000
more tax just on the NDP interest on their overspending and their
borrowing. I think it was a 32- or a 35-year-old that's going to be
faced with $50,000 in extra personal tax just on the interest – just
on the interest – of this NDP government racking up huge debts. Of
course, we know that interest rates have been rising a bit. Interest
rates have gone up, and that problem may get worse. But, of course,
that interest doesn't take into account the fact that today $56 billion


1062 Alberta Hansard May 15, 2018

of NDP borrowing has to be paid back, headed to $96 billion in just
three more years.
You know, Madam Speaker, these are the kinds of things where,
if this government and this Finance minister would have the
strength to get these things in order rather than kick the can down
the road, rather than putting this on the backs of future Albertans,
absolutely Bill 2 would not be necessary. We wouldn't need to pick
winners and losers. That is why this reasoned amendment should
be supported. It is not necessary.
The carbon tax and the debt are two other things that I have to
touch on. I'm always amazed when I talk to oil and gas job
providers, oil and gas executives, these great technological drillers
that quite often stand 20 miles from the Northwest Territories
border to make money and create wealth and create taxation for all
of us, how they say that the layers and layers of NDP burden are
bad enough – the carbon tax is terrible; the regulations are onerous
– but the biggest reason that they're deciding to allocate scarce
capital and create jobs in jurisdictions other than Alberta is what
this government did initially. That was the 20 per cent increase in
corporate taxes for Albertans.
Of course, that corporate tax rate, that 20 per cent increase, was
on top of what the federal government already taxes these
companies. When you compare it to other jurisdictions, when you
have the opportunity to set up your firm and your jobs in other
jurisdictions, the fact is that our biggest competitor to the south is
just reducing taxes 40 per cent. That our government is increasing
taxes 20 per cent while our major competitor is making it 40 per
cent more affordable to do business there is absolutely
unimaginable and that it was thought of as sound policy. It is
obviously going to have serious consequences unless this
government gets its house in order.
Let's talk about that for a second. Madam Speaker, I'm appalled
that three years ago, when this government was elected, our good
energy companies said that what takes a week to get approved in
Texas and takes two weeks to get approved in Saskatchewan takes
up to four years to get approved in Alberta. I'm appalled that I have
seen no improvement on that. We had the Energy department at
Public Accounts about two weeks ago, and there didn't seem to be
any meat on the bone for ensuring something as simple as making
sure that the regulations are proper, fair, and streamlined so that
these people could allocate their capital and create their jobs in a
timely manner. It appears that it's not even on this government's
radar. My goodness. When Saskatchewan can do it in two weeks,
surely to goodness we can at least beat Saskatchewan. Surely to
goodness, we can put in the focus and the resources to make sure
that when Albertans and other people have the opportunity to invest
money, we haven't put barriers in their way.

11:10
You know, as some of the proof about how this government's
plan of big spending, big taxation, not getting to regulations, and
huge debt for our kids and our economy isn't working, let's talk
about tax revenues, how tax revenues have fallen across the board
even though tax rates have been increased. As I've said in this
House before, people are voting with their feet. People are putting
time and money and effort into professional advice and professional
paperwork to ensure that their business affairs are as tax efficient as
possible, something that used to happen considerably less, I'm told,
when we had a 10 per cent flat tax, when we had a government that
tried harder to look for value for taxpayer dollars.
I still remember a report from about a year ago that talked about
how more oil sands leases, bigger than the entire province of Prince
Edward Island, had been turned back. Now, buying an oil sands
lease and when you have to drill and how you get extensions and when you
have to develop is a very, very complicated set of rules,
and that's something that needs to be changed. But, Madam
Speaker, I am absolutely amazed that companies would spend tens
and tens and tens of millions of dollars to buy the right to develop
a much-needed asset and then walk away from millions and
millions of dollars because of this government's policies, this
government's carbon tax, this government's 20 per cent hike in
corporate tax.
Madam Speaker, we don't need little boutique tax plans, where
the Minister of Finance or the cabinet get to pick winners and losers.
We need an economy that's fair, that's vibrant, that gives every
Albertan the opportunity to be involved, the opportunity to help
each other, the opportunity to create choice in the services that are
provided, and the opportunity to create jobs.
You know, another example, from a week or so ago, of the plan
not working is Royal Dutch Shell, which is, like, the second- or the
fourth- or the 10th-biggest company in the whole world, bigger than
a lot of countries. Guess what they did? They, too, decided to vote
with their feet. They said: we're not keeping our money in the
Alberta oil sands. They put their shares in, I believe, a joint project
with CNR up for sale. Almost $4 billion. Madam Speaker, if that
money was still in our economy, all the money that Total and
Marathon and others have taken out of Alberta, think of the jobs it
would provide, think of the tax base that it would create, think of
the services that we could provide, and think of the opportunities
for young Albertans.
If you're a young Albertan without the NDP carbon tax, without
the 20 per cent corporate tax, without the big tax hikes, you'd have
an opportunity to actually go out and create, you know, a family,
buy a house, pay off some of your university debts. My goodness,
too many young kids are coming out of school with huge university
debts and without jobs. That's the real problem. They don't have
the jobs to pay these off. Madam Speaker, instead, what these youth
are faced with is $40,000 to $50,000 in additional provincial tax –
additional provincial tax – just on the interest of this Finance
minister's and this government's big-spending ways. It's a burden
that families have to face or leave. I know that Albertans are
extremely qualified and hard working. I know that our future is
bright, and I know that our opportunity is there.
I want to talk about opportunity. Madam Speaker, I stood up at a
meeting in Medicine Hat about two weeks ago, and I said that the
demand for oil is increasing and what a shame that it's not coming
from Alberta, with our strong environmental records, our strong
social justice records. We're always improving. We're always
getting better. I said that because the demand for oil is currently 90
million barrels a day, and I've read that it's going up to 1 million
barrels per day annually. So a year from now it'll be 91 million, and
two years from now it'll be 92 million. Then I got schooled. There
was a financial planner in the meeting who had some financial data
that showed that it's actually 100 million barrels a day now.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
Are there any members wishing to speak under 29(2)(a)? The
hon. Minister of Advanced Education.

Mr. Schmidt: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. It's a real pleasure
to rise and offer some comments in response to the statement that
the Member for Cypress-Medicine Hat made this morning. First of
all, let me just express my severe and ongoing disappointment that
the Member for Cypress-Medicine Hat has yet to bring doughnuts
to share with the members of this Chamber. I hope that the good
people of McBride's Bakery continue to ply him with doughnuts
and that he is willing to share with the people of this Chamber.


May 15, 2018 Alberta Hansard 1063

I want to talk about some of the statements that the Member for
Cypress-Medicine Hat made today. On this issue of taxes, he has
about as much credibility as he does on the issue of climate change,
and that's precisely none, Madam Speaker. You know, it's well
known that the Member for Cypress-Medicine Hat funds climate
change denial movies in his spare time. I really encourage him to
get the opportunity to meet with the Governor General while she's
here today because she's a very learned person in science and has
seen through her own eyes that not only is climate change real and
having severe and drastic impacts on the world but that the world
is, in fact, round. She's seen it with her own eyes. I hope that the
Member for Cypress-Medicine Hat takes the opportunity to learn
something from such a learned person, who has the privilege of
being the vice-regal representative here in Canada.
My initial point was that the Member for Cypress-Medicine Hat
has no credibility on the issue of taxes, just like he has no credibility
on the issue of climate change. Here's why. I can't remember which
member of the opposition it was who claimed that, you know, our
tax rates were driving businesses out of Alberta. That is a patently
false statement, Madam Speaker. In fact, he mentioned Methanex.
Of course, I've conferred with some of my colleagues here on this
side. Methanex hasn't actually made a decision about where they're
going to invest in their next plant, so for the Member for CypressMedicine
Hat to get up and say that they've already picked up and
are moving to Louisiana is not entirely an accurate statement. I hope
that the people of Alberta who are listening to this debate take that
with a grain of salt.
More importantly, on the issue of taxes generally, the Member
for Cypress-Medicine Hat, of course, along with all of his
colleagues in the United Conservative Party, has long complained
about tax rates that have gone up under this government. Of course,
our government has implemented a $30-a-tonne carbon tax, and we
raised the corporate tax rate from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, Madam
Speaker. In my comments to another member from the opposition
I had identified that Amazon had just opened a new head office of
some kind – I can't remember which – in Vancouver a couple of
weeks ago. The Prime Minister was there to celebrate. This was a
great day for economic prosperity for the people of British
Columbia. When I pointed out that the corporate tax rate in B.C. is
also 12 per cent and that the carbon tax is $30 a tonne in B.C., I was
actually corrected by my hon. colleagues after the fact. The carbon
tax rate in British Columbia is actually $35 a tonne, $5 a tonne more
than what we're charging here in Alberta, yet Amazon chose
Vancouver as the site to locate its new, splashy headquarters and
develop the economy there. It's a shame that they didn't choose
Alberta, which is why we need to move quickly on the legislation
that is before us.
Madam Speaker, I wish the members opposite would stop selling
this snake oil that our tax rates are driving investment out of
Alberta, because it's not supported by the evidence. We maintain
overall the lowest taxed jurisdiction in the country. We're
competitive with everywhere in North America, and of course we
have a lifestyle that's beyond compare here in Alberta. We have an
incredible health care system. We have an education system that's
second to none. If some company wants to pick up stakes and move
someplace where their children are going to have a third-world
education system, you know, where the children of the workers are
going to graduate from high school being barely literate . . .

11:20
The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
Are there any other members wishing to speak to the referral
amendment? The hon. Member for Calgary-Fish Creek. Mr. Gotfried: Thank you,
Madam Speaker, and thank you for the
opportunity. I rise today to speak in favour of the reasoned
amendment brought forward by my hon. colleague. Of course, I feel
that some of the comments I will make today will be very
reminiscent of a narrative and a conversation we keep having in this
House about the destruction of the fundamental economics of this
province, which has scared away so much investment. You know,
I'm not happy about the song this government is singing nor the
song sheet that they're singing from. We just seem to be getting that
same story over and over again about the challenges we have with
economic fundamentals and why we have to keep bringing forward
other legislation, as I say, throwing candy at a situation after we've
taken away the meal.
This government and this minister are continually looking for
ways to position themselves as the great diversifiers, Madam
Speaker, but as I just heard actually this morning in Public Accounts
Committee, they have big plans, big strategies, big outcomes but
very few measures to keep them accountable. In fact, I think there
were 12 objectives and two outcomes to measure those objectives.
I don't know how that equates in the real world. When you set
objectives in the real world, you set objectives, you put measures
by them, and then you achieve them. It's often said that if you can't
measure, you can't manage, but I think that also, consequently, if
you can't manage, you just don't get results.
Madam Speaker, from 1986 to 2016 Alberta's GDP did grow
from $59.6 billion to $314.9 billion. During those 30 years oil and
gas and mining decreased as a percentage of total GDP, decreased
from 23.2 per cent to 17 per cent. That GDP number still represents
– we talked about this in Public Accounts this morning – the thirdlargest
economy by GDP in Canada, ahead of British Columbia.
That's without the oil and gas industry. That doesn't sound like a
failure of diversification in the past to me.
Alberta was able to grow in part because previous governments
worked extremely hard to make Alberta the most business-friendly
environment in Canada through fundamental economics, Madam
Speaker. Fundamental economics attracted people from across this
country and around the world, but it not only attracted people; it
attracted investment. Last time I heard, you don't create a job until
somebody puts an investment dollar at risk with the hope of some
reward for creating that job. But you have to attract those people.
You have to have them willing to take those risks.
Madam Speaker, we were one of the few debt-free jurisdictions
on this planet, and that was attractive to investors and to businesses
as well because there was an opportunity there. They knew that the
burden of debt was going to be not only on their shoulders but on
their employers' shoulders and their families' shoulders and the
shoulders of future generations, their children and their
grandchildren, on those who moved here. Over the years we saw so
many people come from so many places across this country and
around the world. They chose Alberta for those fundamental
economics and the way of life that we generate and are able to
sustain and for the social programs that we are able to sustain
through the wealth that we were able to create by attracting that
investment and attracting those businesses and then creating those
jobs and creating the wealth thereby that came from that risk taking.
In the past we had corporate tax rates being reduced, we had
personal income tax rates reduced, and the economy continued to
grow. Actually, our provincial coffers prospered. Yet we've seen
tax rates increase more recently. And what have we seen? A
reduction in revenues. What does that tell you, Madam Speaker? I
might add that the current government is all too happy to point out
as a defining attraction for investment in Alberta that they opposed
cutting those same taxes, but that attraction is really what we need
to focus on. How do we attract people back here to grow that


1064 Alberta Hansard May 15, 2018

economic activity, grow the GDP, grow that economic pie so that
we can have an opportunity to succeed, to actually have a chance to
pay off that debt, to balance the budgets, to pay off that debt, and to
start doing that today, not pushing it down the road to future
generations, onto the shoulders of future generations? I think many
of us in this House worry that that's not going to be just our children
but our grandchildren to come.
We've heard from ministers and backbenchers alike from the
NDP side that because Alberta has not had these programs previous
to this government, it left Alberta and Albertans at a competitive
disadvantage, Madam Speaker, that they were doing so to level the
playing field and that without that level playing field, that was so
magically created by this government with their initiatives,
somehow we couldn't compete on a national and global scale. Well,
again, this is curious to me. If I recall correctly, in 2013-2014
Alberta created 87 per cent of all the new jobs in Canada, in fact
82,300 new jobs in that year, and all that with a supposed
competitive disadvantage and an unlevel playing field before we
had some of these pieces of candy, or Band-Aids, that we see
coming into play.
I think some will remember this term. It's faded into the past, and
hopefully we can revive it in the future. That unlevel playing field
was once called the Alberta advantage. Fundamental economics,
Madam Speaker. Fundamental economics attracted people with
lower tax rates, a positive business environment, and an absence of
what we're hearing, oddly, in today's world, the terms “political
risk” and “Alberta” used in the same sentence. I don't think I ever
heard that in my life, and I was born and raised in this province. I
don't think I ever heard the term “political risk.” Yeah, I've heard
it in other places. I lived in Nigeria. We heard about political risk
there. We hear it about Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. In the Middle
East we hear about political risk. But I ask all the members of this
House and all Albertans: did they ever expect to hear the terms
“political risk” and “Alberta” used in the same sentence?
Madam Speaker, Alberta then had the highest median wages in
the country, and these weren't skewed because of a few high
salaries. They were skewed because of broad high salaries for most
Albertans and the opportunity for work for many of those that are
currently unemployed today. They actually had the opportunity to
work and to make a good living and to build a good life in this
province. Growing an economy isn't all that valuable every day if
work-seeking Albertans are unemployed, is it?
They're unemployed not just in the short term, but for many I'm
hearing from in my community, it's going on two years. I'm hearing
about people not being able to make their payments on their homes,
and I'm hearing about bankruptcies. We've heard stories in this
House of people approaching them and telling them that they've
lost their house. We heard that from the Member for Drayton
Valley-Devon just yesterday. Losing their houses. These are hardworking
Albertans who have lost one or two incomes, who are
trying to live a frugal and modest lifestyle and have tightened their
belts as much as they possibly can, Madam Speaker, and still to this
day cannot find employment because of the lack of the attraction of
that investment and those businesses to create the jobs we need.
We need to generate wealth, Madam Speaker. We need to
generate wealth in this province to balance our budgets. Those tax
revenues from generating wealth will do that because the businesses
will pay taxes, and the individuals that are employed by them – but
they have to be employed first – will generate those tax revenues to
help balance our budgets without reaching deeper and deeper into
the pockets of hard-working Albertans, on whose shoulders this
province is built.
And our seniors, Madam Speaker. Many of the seniors of today
thought that they would be living a comfortable retirement, but many of
them are not able to. Many of them hope to have part-time
employment. We're seeing that. But you know what? Some of them
are having to steal jobs from the youth that we once employed
before we jacked up our minimum wages and things like that that
made it attractive to hire youth without the experience. So what are
they doing? They're hiring 65- and 70-year-olds who need that
income just to survive. That's a sad reflection of the way our
economy is today and how we are not generating the wealth to
support not only our budgets and balancing our budgets but to pay
off our debt and to generate the types of social services which a
compassionate society will do.

11:30
You know, when I hear from the Finance minister that things are
looking up, up, up, I worry again, because that's not what the
Albertans that I talk to are telling me. They're expressing to me that
they're having difficulties paying their household bills, yet we hear
in this House that we want to put more through the PACE program,
that we want to put more tax burden on people so that when they
lose a job, they're more likely to lose their homes much more
rapidly because their ability to reduce their burn rate through
something that is a fixed cost on their tax bill will not be something
that they can adjust. They can't go to their bank and say: I'm going
to skip a payment here; I'm going to skip a payment; I'm going to
reduce 10 per cent, working with the banks. I know the banks have
worked hard with their clients to keep them in their homes, and I
hope that that will continue in this province from a compassionate
standpoint.When we hear from the polls, pollsters and we hear from
Albertans face to face telling us that they're still struggling, they're
not saying: up, up, up. They're saying that they're worried, worried,
worried. They're worried about the future of this province. Madam
Speaker, some of them are worried about themselves, but I hear
more often that they're worried about their kids not being able to
find jobs. We know that the highest unemployment is in the youth
segment of our population, who now are being deeply affected by
taxes and deeply affected by the lack of investment, the lack of new
businesses, the failures of so many small businesses, many in the
service and hospitality sector, that just can't survive with the burden
of the carbon tax, the burden of the minimum wage increases, and
the burden of some of the employment and labour costs that have
been pushed on them even though they're struggling today just to
survive. That's sad for me, Madam Speaker.
So the government has decided that to turn the tide, they will
introduce Bill 2, the Growth and Diversification Act. This bill
builds on Bill 30, Investing in a Diversified Alberta Economy Act,
which introduced two tax credits, the Alberta investor tax credit and
the capital investment tax credit. As a whole, I think both Bill 30
and Bill 2 are focusing on the trees at the expense of actually
nurturing a mighty forest, that we once had here in Alberta. Both
bills are basically applying – I used the phrase earlier – a Band-Aid
to a critical injury of bad fundamental economics, Madam Speaker.
The throwing of that candy after taking away that attractive plate of
meat and potatoes that Albertans have enjoyed for so many years,
taking that away from them and throwing candy at them: that's
great. It's going to rot their teeth at the same time.
Madam Speaker, choose your own metaphor. They all paint a
bleak picture of trying to undo a failure of fundamental economics
in this province and regulatory and taxation failure that have been
wrought by this government. We wouldn't even need programs like
these if the government had not so severely damaged Alberta's
attractiveness for business and investment, business and investor
confidence and put us in the realm of being a jurisdiction of political
risk. By my last count – and that was now over a year ago – $34.8


May 15, 2018 Alberta Hansard 1065

billion of foreign direct investment has left this province. I think I
called it yesterday that they are the canary in the coal mine, again a
very appropriate term given what's been done to decimate our coal
industry in those towns that are attached to our coal industry in this
province.We heard just this morning in Public Accounts Committee that
not only do we have that damaging effect but very little is being
done. I think they've got $5 million allocated. I think that might be
just enough to buy all the shutters to shutter up all the businesses in
those communities because we have not anticipated what the
outcome was going to be, what I call a disorderly transition rather
than an orderly transition, which brings me, Madam Speaker, to
such things as the carbon tax. The carbon tax always comes to mind
because it has layered another burden on top of Albertans, with all
economic pain and no environmental gain. That is one of the
reasons I am speaking in favour of this recent amendment.
Madam Speaker, the University of Calgary School of Public
Policy issues a number of great documents. A recent personal
favourite was by former Minister of Finance from Saskatchewan
Dr. Janice MacKinnon. In that paper they state that to grow the
economy, you need to consider important policy objectives like the
creation of a positive environment for business. They say that to
spur economic growth, you need to do certain things but that this
NDP government in Alberta has abandoned traditional
opportunities. In fact, in Saskatchewan back in the 1990s they did
abandon traditional NDP policy, which normally “supported raising
taxes on business and high-income earners in the name of tax
fairness.” They call that business-killing initiatives. “However,” the
paper notes, “raising corporate and personal income taxes
discouraged investment and economic development.” Discouraged
investment and economic development.
When you tax them and then you try and throw some candy back
at them, Madam Speaker, you really don't achieve anything. That
bucket is still leaking even more. You're just trying to pick winners,
and you're trying to pick losers. You're trying to fill up the coffers
with other people's money and then redistribute it, all the while
burning a bunch of that money up through administration and other
costs.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
Are there members wishing to speak under 29(2)(a)? The hon.
Minister of Advanced Education.

Mr. Schmidt: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to offer
some comments, if I can, on some of the statements that were made
by the Member for Calgary-Fish Creek. First of all, let me just start
off by saying that I have never seen a group of people more resistant
to facts than the hon. members over there. It doesn't matter how
many times we stand up here and talk about the fact that our tax
rates are not discouraging investment, that, in fact, we are the most
competitive taxed jurisdiction in the entire continent, they get up
and say the opposite. It's true for climate change. It's true for a
whole host of things on which they are resistant to facts. They are
so focused on their ideology that they refuse to look at the evidence
and make decisions based on that, which is really disappointing. I
think the people of Alberta deserve better, and they have been
getting better from this government for the past three years.
You know, I want to talk about, first of all – I also want to address
a phrase, “political risk.” This is a phrase that the Member for
Calgary-Fish Creek has used a couple of times recently in debate.
He says that, oh, he's surprised that he's heard the words “political
risk” used in Alberta for the first time, and they're only talking
about it because of the NDP. Madam Speaker, I want to confirm what the
Member for
Calgary-Fish Creek has said because I, too, have heard the phrase
“political risk,” but it's in relation to the Member for CalgaryLougheed
and the United Conservative Party. I'm hearing the
phrase “political risk” from women, and I'm hearing the phrase
“political risk” from gender minorities, from LGBTQ people. I'm
hearing the phrase “political risk” from ethnic minorities, from
indigenous people. They are scared witless that those guys over
there are going to win an election and take away their hard-earned
rights, that have been championed by this government. So when the
Member for Calgary-Fish Creek talks about political risk, he'd
better remember that there are a lot of Albertans who are scared of
the political risk that his own party poses to the good people of this
province.Now, on the issue of economic diversification, one of the key
objectives of this bill is to enhance economic diversification in the
digital realm, and in fact the interactive digital media tax credit is
designed to do just that, Madam Speaker. This came from extensive
consultations with video game designers, people working in the
digital industry. They pointed at one jurisdiction that really got this
right and has spurred development in this area better than any
jurisdiction in the country, and that's Quebec. I wondered, as I do
when I listen to the members opposite, what the tax rates are in
Quebec, because apparently we hear nothing but the fact that our
high taxes are driving out investment, that our taxes are so high that
they're driving investment in the interactive digital media world to
Quebec.What is the corporate tax rate in Quebec, Madam Speaker? You'd
be shocked to know that it's 11.9 per cent provincially, .1 per cent
lower than the corporate tax rate here in Alberta. What are the
provincial income tax rates? I was shocked. I was shocked to find
out that a person earning $42,000 a year pays 15 per cent in
provincial income taxes. That is our highest personal income tax
rate in this province. People earning $300,000 a year or more are
paying 15 per cent. What are people paying who are earning
$300,000 or more in Quebec? It's a whopping 25.75 per cent, more
than 10 per cent higher than our highest provincial income tax
bracket, and that starts at $103,000 a year.
You know, the Member for Calgary-Fish Creek isn't paying
attention because, like I said, he is as resistant to facts as everybody
else on that side of the aisle, Madam Speaker, and I'm sure that he's
whiling away his time wondering how he can attack the rights of
indigenous people and other minorities that that party opposite
seems to be intent on attacking, but . . .

Mr. McIver: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

11:40
The Acting Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Hays.

Point of Order
Imputing Motives

Mr. McIver: The hon. minister is out of line. Under 23(h), (i), and
(j) he's imputing false motives to another member in order to create
disruption, and the hon. member needs to apologize and withdraw
his remarks.

The Acting Speaker: An hon. member wishing to respond to the
point of order? The hon. Minister of Advanced Education.

Mr. Schmidt: I apologize and withdraw my remarks, Madam
Speaker.


1066 Alberta Hansard May 15, 2018

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member. Would you like to
continue?

Mr. Schmidt: Yes, I would, Madam Speaker.

Debate Continued

Mr. Schmidt: You know, my previous comments aside, I do have
a question, though, for the Member for Calgary-Fish Creek. Why
has the development of the interactive digital media technology
sector in . . .

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.
Are there any other members wishing to speak to the reasoned
amendment? The hon. Member for Cardston-Taber-Warner.

Mr. Hunter: Thank you. It's a privilege to speak in favour of this
reasoned amendment proposed by my hon. colleague. The
interesting thing, as I've been listening to the debate go back and
forth here today, is that the Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar
continues to indicate that this is all about comparing taxes. You
know, I think that we've tried to make the argument very clear that
this is actually not just about taxes but specifically about the
environment that has been created in Alberta. So through you to
that hon. member, Madam Speaker, I would like to just indicate to
him that our argument is specifically about the environment that the
government has set up that has chased away the investment in
Alberta. This is very important for the members opposite to realize,
that we're not actually attacking one specific thing but a whole suite
of things that they have done in order to be able to chase away that
investment.Now, the way that the investment trickles down is that the
investment comes in, and as the investment comes in, it creates the
jobs that Albertans need. This is really what we're trying to fight
for. I actually don't believe that the members opposite are trying to
chase away investment or that they're trying to stop Albertans from
having gainful employment. I don't believe that. In fact, when I talk
to people, I say: you know, some of the nicest people I've met are
from the NDP side. Here's the problem. The problem is that they
might have the best of intentions, but, again, if you were to go to a
mechanic, and the mechanic didn't do the job properly, you'd fire
the mechanic. You would not go back. This is the concern that I
hear from Albertans. They are very concerned about outcomes, not
best intentions.
I think this government would get an A for best intentions, but
the problem is that they continue to make a bad situation worse.
Now, we know full well that with the collapse in oil, many
jurisdictions throughout the world have suffered because of that,
and Alberta's economy is very much dependent upon oil, and
there's nobody arguing that. What we are arguing, Madam Speaker,
is the fact that the policies that this government has brought forward
have exacerbated the economic downturn in this province.
When I take a look at Bill 2, Growth and Diversification Act, this
again is another response or reaction to, I guess, maybe best
intentions that just haven't played out the way that they feel they
should. This is why, you know, I believe that we don't need to have
this bill, and this is the reason why I believe that the reasoned
amendment is the proper go-forward strategy, because had we not
introduced, first of all, the carbon tax, had we not introduced the
increase in the tax burden, had we not increased minimum wage,
had we not – and the list can go on. It may be the best of intentions,
but the problem – and I've described this in the House before – is
that this government seems to be the government of unintended
consequences. So we're in a situation now where the government is arguing
for
I guess we would call it maybe a boutique tax program, picking
winners and losers. This is something that I've been very interested
in as I've watched for the last three years. I'm not saying that they
are arrogant, but there this an arrogance to the idea or belief that we
know how to be able to micromanage an economy. There is an
arrogance to the idea that we believe that we can actually mess
around with supply and demand, which creates the equilibrium, and
figure it out better. History has proven that when you allow those
market forces to be able to float freely in free-market economies, as
we call them, that creates a better outcome, because the markets
know.There are two forces in the market. There are those who supply,
and there are those who consume, or demand. Those two forces
have to come to an agreement about what is the right approach
forward, and there are the best of intentions out there, and there are
lots of businesses that fail. The problem is that this government,
through programs like this, has determined that they know better,
that they know how to micromanage this economy, and that they
know what is the best, growing approach for the future. I have to
say that there is an arrogance to that, that that's something that has
never proven to be true as we have moved into the 21st century.
Again, I've listened to the arguments by the Member for
Edmonton-Gold Bar, and you know what? I wanted to give him the
benefit of the doubt, that perhaps he has an argument that I haven't
already heard from members on the opposite side, but I haven't
heard an argument that sways me to believe that this type of a tax
boutique is something that we should embrace and use as a goforward
plan.
Now, one of the reasons why I think we see some of the problems
in Alberta is because of the regulatory burden. I actually had a
private member's bill, Madam Speaker, that I brought forward to
try to address this issue. The NDP government voted that down and
rejected the idea. In fact, the argument that they gave me was: well,
we're addressing it as we go.
It sounds similar to when I talked to the Minister of Labour about
the consequences of minimum wage. I said to her: “Listen, you
know, this isn't the first time we've actually done this in the world.
We think that if you just raise minimum wage, there won't be
outcomes or consequences to that.” I said: “Take a look at the
plethora of studies out there, the peer-reviewed articles that are
done. It shows that for every 10 per cent increase in minimum wage,
people between 18 and 24 have an increase in unemployment of
between 2 to 8 per cent, so it's a terrible trade-off.” I said to her,
“Well, have you done an economic impact study?” That's the first
question I asked. Then the second question I asked was, “If you
haven't done one, are you going to do one?” and she said: “No.
We're going to assess as we go.” Well, it's been three years now.
Unemployment amongst young people is 13.2 per cent.

Mr. Schmidt: Historically low.

Mr. Hunter: You know, again, the Member for Edmonton-Gold
Bar: I don't know if he knows anything other than angry, but he
heckled out “historically low.”

Mr. Schmidt: Point of order.

The Acting Speaker: A point of order has been called.

Mr. Hunter: Oh, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.

The Acting Speaker: The hon. Minister of Advanced Education.


May 15, 2018 Alberta Hansard 1067

Point of Order
Language Creating Disorder

Mr. Schmidt: Yup, under 23(h), (i), and (j). I heard the Member
for Cardston-Taber-Warner call me an angry person, Madam
Speaker. You know, I recognize that I get under their skin, that they
don't like a lot of the things that I say. But under 23(h), (i), and (j)
I think that to characterize me as angry and then to sit down and
say, “Oh, he can dish it out, but he can't take it” is language that's
abusive or insulting, and I request that the Member for CardstonTaber-
Warner
withdraw his remarks and apologize.

11:50
The Acting Speaker: Are there any members wishing to speak to
the point of order?

Mr. Hunter: Madam Speaker, I believe that the words I used were
that he doesn't know anything other than anger. I didn't call him an
angry person, just to make sure that the member understands what
I did say, and that's what I said. But if I have gotten under his skin,
I apologize, and I withdraw those remarks.

The Acting Speaker: Hon. members, I believe that if we could just,
you know, revert to discussion of the policy of the bill and the
reasoned amendment and try to refrain from directly speaking to
each other, maybe just through me, that would be the best way to
do it. At this time there is no point of order.
Please continue.

Debate Continued

Mr. Hunter: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Now, again, I was
talking about the minimum wage issue and how it is a terrible tradeoff
to have 13.2 per cent unemployment among young people. The
point, again, that I was making is that there is lots of evidence out
there that shows that the increase in unemployment amongst young
people is a terrible trade-off for those increases in the minimum
wage. So I asked: “You know, have you done an economic impact
study? What are you going to do about this, and would you ever
stop?” The answer specifically was, “No, we are not going to do an
economic impact study, and we will assess as we go.”
Well, again, three years into this now, we're already seeing
unemployment among young people at 13.2 per cent. When is it
enough? When is it that this government is going to start to say that
there is a terrible trade-off and that the unintended consequences
were not what we expected? Again, I'm not saying that this
government wants to see this unemployment or wants to see
Albertans not gainfully employed, but I am saying that when they
see the outcomes of these things, I wish that they would reassess
and say: we need to be able to take a look at this process and move
forward in a positive way. But I haven't seen that yet. I haven't seen
that in their approach.
With this bill, the idea of having a tax boutique, as it were: even
if it did work, have they measured? I was at a PAC, a Public
Accounts Committee, meeting this morning, and the committee
asked the Economic Development and Trade deputy minister and
his team, you know, what kind of measurables they're using,
whether or not they are measuring the success of these things. It
was all anecdotal, the evidence that they gave, which is: well, our
economy is increasing, in terms of GDP growth, fastest in the
country, and it's projected to go the same this year. That was the
evidence that they gave, but the question has to be asked, which is,
once again: is the money that is being spent, these tax boutiques,
the result of this increase or this growth? They could not give us an
answer, Madam Speaker. Again, if this is supposedly the answer to our woes,
this concept,
then there must be some way of being able to measure to say that,
yes, this is actually working or that this injection of cash in terms
of the Growth and Diversification Act is going to work or has
worked. I don't know if there's any evidence that I've seen that
shows that.
The other thing that I was concerned about with this is that it's
unclear if the companies who have received the tax credits during
the first incarnation of the program were in actual need of the tax
credit support. You know, obviously, the question is: is there a
private-sector vehicle that can provide the funding or the initial
start-up capital costs that would help that organization or that group
or that company to be able to get on their own two feet? I don't
know whether or not even the first iteration or incarnation of this
program can show that that is actually the case, that, again, these
tax boutiques were actually of benefit or helpful to facilitating
growth in the economy or in these areas.
The other question that I had that I was a little concerned about
is that as of March 16, 2018, there was unallocated money to the
tune of roughly 5 per cent of the first AITC funding. Now, that was
a first-come, first-served funding pool, but the question is: was it
undersubscribed, or was it not successful in its delivery? Was there
too much red tape to be able to get it out in time? What were the
reasons why it was 5 per cent undersubscribed or underutilized?
These are some of the things that, you know, I think any prudent
government would take a look at and say: what have we done right,
and what have we done wrong? This is really the major reason why
I cannot support this bill, because I do not believe that this
government, with the best of intentions, is going to be able to get it
right.You know, B.C. and Quebec supposedly have been doing this for
a while. By us injecting and getting in this late in the game, how
much of the market share can we actually access and get ourselves?
Again, these are the questions that I think an economic impact study
would actually tell us, yet again we've seen nothing from the
government that says: “This is how it is going to roll out. This is
what's going to happen if we inject this amount of money, that we
will be in a position where we can see this number of jobs and this
amount of growth in our GDP.”
With that, Madam Speaker, I will just conclude by saying that I
believe that this could all be fixed by having the government not do
these tax boutiques and instead be able to provide an opportunity
for Albertans to have that gainful employment or that gainful
business opportunity by getting out of the way. In the olden days
they used to call it salutary neglect.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
Are there any members that want to speak under 29(2)(a)? I'll
recognize the hon. Member for Calgary-Hays, followed by the
Deputy Government House Leader.

Mr. McIver: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I just wanted to
talk to the hon. member that was just on his feet about some of his
remarks. He talked about how the government is making changes,
these boutique tax changes, essentially trying to undo the damage
that their other policies have done. I wanted to get his opinion on
the fact that, well, in the past, under previous governments there
have been several periods of time when we've been in a recession
and several periods of time when energy prices have been low, but
never before in history have we had those things happen at the same
time as a tremendous outflow of capital. That has only happened
under the NDP government. Never before, despite all the recessions
in the past, despite all the low energy prices in the past, has 35-plus
billion dollars leaked out of Alberta. Essentially, there has to be


1068 Alberta Hansard May 15, 2018

another reason. Clearly, an obvious place may be the policies that
the NDP has put in place. But I'd like the hon. member to have an
opportunity to elaborate on this fact.

Mr. Hunter: You know, I think the member makes a very
important point, and I think the point is this. Businesses want
certainty. They want to have a belief that if they're going to play
the game of business and developing business, the rules aren't
going to change or that the umpire is going to be fair. It has been
clearly shown throughout history – we've seen it in B.C. and
Ontario – that when an NDP government gets in, it scares businesses to
death because they are absolutely not convinced that
the NDP government will not change the rules midway through a
project. They do not believe that the playing field is going to be fair,
that they will have an opportunity to be able to provide for the
people in their businesses.

The Acting Speaker: Hon. member, I hesitate to interrupt, but
pursuant to Standing Order 4(2.1) the Assembly will now stand
adjourned until 1:30 this afternoon.

[The Assembly adjourned at 12 p.m.]






Table of Contents

Prayers
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1061

Orders of the Day
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1061

Government Bills and Orders
Second Reading
Bill 2 Growth and Diversification Act
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1061


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