MLA Re­port

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Nathan Cooper MLA, Olds-Dids­bury-Three Hills Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion House Leader, Prop­erty Rights Critic

cern across our coun­try, this spring it ex­ceeded Canada’s GDP for the first time. To­tal house­hold credit-mar­ket debt reached $1.97-tril­lion, with $1.29-tril­lion in mort­gages and $585.8-bil­lion in credit cards, car loans, and other per­sonal loans. Ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics Canada, fam­i­lies now owe $1.68 for ev­ery $1 of dis­pos­able in­come. Much of this debt is be­ing fu­eled by near record­low in­ter­est rates com­ing out of the 2008-09 global re­ces­sion. The Bank of Canada, not to men­tion the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, has been warn­ing that any ad­verse shock to the econ­omy will have real im­pli­ca­tions for fam­i­lies. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s not just house­holds that face a grow­ing debt prob­lem. There seems to be no end to the ap­petite for debt among provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments, and they’re drag­ging far too many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties down with them. Fu­eled by cost-shared “stim­u­lus” spend­ing pro­grams, many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across our coun­try took on reams of red ink over the past decade. Now, with a bust cy­cle in full swing, some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties here in Al­berta are strug­gling to col­lect taxes from fal­ter­ing busi­nesses and en­ergy com­pa­nies. Mean­while, rev­enue tied to con­struc­tion and pop­u­la­tion growth has all but evap­o­rated. With our prov­ince mired in the worst re­ces­sion since the 1980s, the last thing we need right now are gov­ern­ment poli­cies that take more money out of our econ­omy. Yet gov­ern­ments are lin­ing up to do just that. The Not­ley Car­bon Tax is slated to take ef­fect on Jan­uary 1. Al­berta’s min­i­mum wage, al­ready the high­est in Canada, will jump to $15/ hour in 2018. The Trudeau Car­bon Tax kicks in 2018. And then seven years’ worth of Canada Pen­sion Plan pre­mium hikes start in 2019. Im­ple­ment­ing all of th­ese poli­cies at once will re­move tens of bil­lions from our econ­omy. This means even more job losses and de­clin­ing prop­erty val­ues. Why does this mat­ter so much? When his­toric debt lev­els meet de­clin­ing prop­erty val­ues, we aren’t go­ing to like what hap­pens next. Yes, I op­pose the Trudeau Car­bon Tax. I also op­pose the Not­ley Car­bon Tax, and all of th­ese other poli­cies. When you fol­low the money, they add up to one in­escapable out­come: A gov­ern­ment leg­is­lated debt spi­ral.

Th­ese are the self-in­flicted mis­takes we sim­ply can­not af­ford if we ex­pect to com­pete in the global econ­omy.

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