Business community ready to work with Alberta’s new government
May 1, 2019
On April 16th voters in Alberta elected a United Conservative Party (UCP) majority government. It appears the UCP’s focus on the economy throughout the campaign struck close to home for many, given the economic struggles that Alberta has faced in recent years. The UCP captured 55 per cent of the vote winning 63 seats, while the NDP got 32 per cent and won 24 seats, no other party elected an MLA to the legislature. With voter turnout eclipsing 64 per cent, the electorate’s decision was clear, the high voter turnout also indicates that Albertans were engaged throughout the writ period.
The Calgary Chamber worked hard leading up to the 2019 provincial election to put together a comprehensive policy platform with recommendations that would help grow Alberta’s economy. We then joined forces with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce to advocate that all parties adopt the business-friendly recommendations that both Chambers brought forward in their platforms. We fundamentally believe that businesses drive thriving communities, which is why we will continue working to ensure that business competitiveness is a focal point of Alberta’s next government.
The UCP’s platform contained many of the recommendations that the Calgary Chamber put forward including, cutting the corporate tax rate, a focus on fiscal responsibility, regulatory reform and red tape reduction, lowering inter-provincial trade barriers, working to increase market access, and supporting workforce skill development. It appears Alberta’s next government will have a strong focus on ensuring that Alberta is business friendly and the Chamber looks forward to working with them to help grow Calgary and Alberta’s business communities.
On April 30th The Honourable Jason Kenney was sworn in as the 18th Premier of Alberta along with the rest of cabinet. While all members of cabinet will be crucial to implementing the Alberta government’s agenda over the next four years, some Minister’s will be critical for the Calgary business community to engage with. These include:
- Travis Toewes, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board
- Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
- Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy
- Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
- Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration
- Dimitri Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education
- Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
- Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation
Along with the new cabinet, the government also announced Deputy Ministers for each department. Deputy Ministers play a key role in running the operations of the department and drafting, planning and implementing policy.
We look forward to hosting the Premier and many of Alberta’s new cabinet at keynote speaking and roundtables over the next four years to create the opportunity for meaningful engagement between the business community and Alberta government.
It has been announced that the new government’s first legislative session scheduled to begin on May 21st. This session will include a speech from the throne, and provincial budget, along with some key pieces of legislation that were promised during the campaign including the Carbon Tax Repeal Act and the Open for Business Act. The Carbon Tax Repeal Act will eliminate the provincial carbon tax and replace it with a price on carbon that is paid by large emitters. The Open for Business Act will include the introduction of a youth minimum wage, changes to rules around banked overtime, and will begin the process of lowering the corporate tax rate, which the UCP intends to drop one percentage point per year during their four-year mandate.
We are encouraged by the campaign commitments in the UCP platform which will help make Calgary a more competitive place for businesses to operate. The Chamber looks forward to working with the next provincial government to ensure that we make Calgary the best place to run and grow a business.