United Conservative Party of Alberta

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The United Conservative Party (UPC for short) is something I voted for. It's the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Wildrose Party. I ended up joining the Wildrose and voted in favor of joining. At the time Jason Kenney was marketing this new party as a 'free enterprise' party. At the time this seemed a lot more promising, but as the party has moved forward it feels a lot like the old PC party (which I wasn't a fan of).

This page is for me documenting the various pieces of policies that I see come up that have some interest to me.

Climate Change and Environment

Currently the UCP has no climate change plan, officially. They say it's in the works for sometime in the first half of 2019.

Jason Kenney Supports a Carbon Tax

Despite all of Jason Kenney's anti-carbon tax rhetoric, he does support a carbon tax. The NDP want an economy wide carbon tax. They also want regulations, unfortunately, which is typically against what economists have called for. Jason is looking for a backend type of carbon tax on the sources and have regulation in play. All this means is roughly something similar to the NDP, with all the economic lag from regulation and, there will be no offset rebate or tax cut for this tax because he wants this money to be spent on research. So life gets more expensive and no one gets a tax cut.

This particular carbon tax/regulation regime is basically the old PC party law Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER).

Speech at Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Nov 14 2018

Kenney stated in his speech that he will get rid of the carbon tax, but reduce taxes on businesses because they'll have to overcompensate for the regulatory side[1]. I regard this as a mixed bag. The regulatory regime is more expensive than a carbon tax. Good that he's at least planning to cut taxes on businesses (no comment on consumers), but the NDP economy wide carbon tax would do better with all regulations removed and tax cuts for every individual and business.

Budgets, Taxes and Spending

Spending

Alberta is a big spending province, despite all the left wing rhetoric about the austerity of conservatives - they spend and spend and spend. Alberta at this point spends more per person than any other province. As much as the Wynne government in Ontario was regarded as far left and reckless, with no regard to financial consequences - it still was highly fiscally restrained compared to Alberta. Alberta spends almost 34% more per person than the 'socialist' Ontario.

When Jason Kenney is faced with left wing attacks about his 'slash and cut' conservatism, what does he say? Certainly not that Alberta really does need cuts because past governments spent too much. No. "I've specifically said front-line services need to be protected. I've called for a restraint in the growth in spending while growing the economy to reach budget balance. [2]" Don't expect him to cut anything. Don't expect him to cut any of the NDPs huge spending increases. He's just planning the same old PC Party style spending - which is practically NDP itself.

Taxes

Personal Income Tax

The UCP Policy Declaration of 2018 (Page 10 Finance - Revenue[3] [4]) declares their intent to return to the original flat 10% income tax rate. I regard this as a good move.

Corporate Income Tax

The UCP Policy Declaration of 2018 (Page 10 Finance - Revenue) declares a return to an original flat tax for corporations. I assume this is a horrible typo as there has not been a flat tax for corporations in a long time. There's basically the small business tax (tax under $500,000) and the business tax above that. Since the NDP increased taxes on the above $500,000 mark (ie: on 'big business' from 10% to 12%), I assume they mean they're going to return that to the regular 10% level. I'll wait to see if they clarify that.

Law and Justice

Alberta Human Rights Tribunal

The UCP Policy Declaration of 2018 (Page 16 Justice - Legal Reforms) declares the the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal should be reformed to have the same rules of evidence and burden of proof as real courts. Definitely a step in the right direction, though abolishing this farce of an institute would be the more appropriate measure. These reforms, while definitely good from the perspective of winning and losing, it misses the fact that most of this organizations punishment is the process. Warrantless access to information, limitations of legal council and just the immense cost that one has to go through is the real cost/punishment.

Education

Removing the Cap on Chartered Schools

As reported by Michelle Bellefontaine, the Alberta legislature reporter, on November 18 2018 during a speech at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, that he wants more chartered schools[5]. Today there is currently a cap, maybe he'll raise the cap. I'm not sure what to make of this. I suppose it's better than the status quo. Charter schools are private, but receive the students public tuition money and that covers the tuition or pays for some it. Money is based on them teaching the government mandated curriculum. I regard this as the biggest issue personally.

I think a better way of fostering educational freedom is allowing the public funds for a student to be attached to the student themselves, so a parent/guardian can choose the school and the cirriculum.

Oil Production and Delivery

OPEC Style Production Quota Reduction

Kenney supports the idea of forcing production reductions for businesses [6]. This idea has been thrown out there by Cenovus, a rather large oil company.

I'm totally against this idea. This is nothing more than corporatism. Cenovus and other big businesses can weather the storm of limited production. Smaller oil companies require production activity for the cash flow required to pay for the rather large capital costs of extracting oil. Capital of this magnitude, especially from a smaller business, requires interest to be paid and maintenance to keep it functioning.

A lot of people don't seem to understand why oil companies produce oil and sell it for a loss consistently. It's this capital cost upfront that requires CASH FLOW.

References