Dr. Jack Mintz joined us as our keynote speaker at our AEG meeting in Calgary on February 23. Dr. Jack gave a speech regarding federal-provincial relations and the role of the West in Canada. We asked Dr. Jack if we could include part of his article regarding his recent opinion of the Alberta Budget. He kindly agreed. It is below.
BY CATHERINE BROWNLEE, PRESIDENT OF ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP (AEG), CALGARY AND EDMONTON CHAPTERS
Pre-election budgets are rarely admirable. Money is spread around like pixie dust to curry the support of voters and to knee-cap opposition parties by borrowing their ideas. To a certain extent, the pre-election good news budget that Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews delivered Tuesday follows this time-honoured political path, helped by $27.5 billion in oil and gas revenues in the 2022/23 fiscal year.
And so, it is easy to chide the budget for populist policies like freezing insurance rates and capping post-secondary tuition fee increases at 2 per cent and for industrial policy measures for politically favoured industries (such as agricultural processing and film and television production). And there is the usual scattering of minor tax credits instead of a general cut in personal taxes – with no mention of a tax review geared to major reform, which the United Conservative Party proposed when it took office.