Yesterday was another busy day for Brian Jean as he announced several policies, most good, some bad, in his bid for leader of the new United Conservatives.
The good ones were heavily focussed on fiscal issues that will help bring investments back to the province and help rid the province of the enormous NDP debt within three years.
Highlights are that there will be no PST, he’ll repeal the carbon tax and Notley’s cap on oil sands emissions and he’s suggesting a lot of policies that will create a friendly business environment. What’s not to like is that there are no aggressive cuts to the public sector.
Jean is taking the lead from the Wildrose’s most recent budget recommendations that outline $2.6B in operational savings, including the carbon tax which accounts for the majority of those cuts at about $1.2B.
His plan to reduce spending by way of attrition, only accounts for $312M. But Jean wants to keep the child tax credit and if he’s also keeping the working families credit, those two things combined cost the current government $336M which essentially cancels any attritions savings and then some!
Jean seems to be offering a double edged sword. On the one hand, he’s creating favourable business policies which will create jobs outside of the public sector, but he also seems to think he needs the union votes.
We’ll have $71B debt to pay by the time the NDP is through with us and will need to stop wasting money in order to pay it off. The way to do that is to rework the biggest line items - education and healthcare.
Like many Alberta politicians, Jean says he draws inspiration from Ralph Klein, but not making necessary cuts is the furthest away from that legacy a politician can get.
If we want to get back on track, the vote pandering needs to stop.
If Alberta UCP leadership candidates want to win the vote and go on to win the job of Premier, they need to stop being unprincipled and quit pandering to unions.
Instead, they should work hard to inspire the 47% of Albertans that didn’t bother to vote in the last election because nobody gave them a reason to.