Promises, promises — but will said promises be the right choice for Alberta? Recently, the Alberta government, under the United Conservative Party (UCP), has announced new legislation, repeals and supposed red tape reduction tactics.
One said repeal is the the carbon tax, which suffered a lot of debate prior to its inception under the NDP government. Now, the federal government will impose its own carbon tax on Alberta. What makes that better? The repeal will destroy jobs, rather than create them, as the tax has funded alternative energy projects in the province and was going to fund others, moving forward and/or in the works. Now, funds from a federally-imposed tax of some sort will go to the feds rather than being kept in Alberta to fund worthwhile and much-needed alternative energy projects. But, the UCPs seem to know best, right?
As for red tape reduction, much of the red tape in Alberta was previously created by the UCP’s somewhat ugly stepchild — the plain and simple Conservative government — throughout the past four decades. So, no need to play the blame game. Red tape is sometimes necessary to create regulations for big business and for those who wouldn’t take up regulation on their own to help save lives or to make those being regulated accountable. Sure, there are some reasons to cut red tape and if that red tape was created by government in the first place, then hopefully it is a lesson learned. Only time will tell what red tape reduction will be successful for the province.
A few items of importance to mention are worker’s comp regulations for farmers and the minimum wage increase in Alberta. Some farmers have already been proactive in making their workers safe and having funds in place, just in case. But, there are also farmers that haven’t and they have had a lifetime to research and find a way to implement their own plans — regulations are for those farmers. The same could be said about businesses with the minimum wage. Some businesses have already been kind and have offered their employees a decent living wage. But for the businesses that haven’t, regulations and/or a minimum wage increase was implemented, so employees can earn enough to live.
A minimum wage increase was needed in Alberta and should be increased across the country, in those provinces with a barely liveable wage for employees. The idea to decrease the minimum wage for youth is doable and adults should receive more than youth in the workplace. But, what that does is create more roadblocks for tax paying adults to get back to work. Businesses will hire youth, rather than paying $15 for an adult to do the same job. Businesses have already found ways to buck the system and pay less for employees. All a decrease in minimum wage for youth will do is create more adult unemployment. Sure, the NDP government should have thought things through and created somewhat of a minimum wage tier system for youth and adults. But, now, businesses are going to have to think twice before hiring an adult or have adults work less without benefits or employers will find other ways to be questionably business-like. Also, why do businesses in the hospitality industry rely on customers to chip in to pay their employees. Those employees also deserve the minimum wage increase plus tips (if deemed appropriate). Yeah, it is going to change the bottom line of businesses everywhere, and it already has. Maybe politicians should get the $15 an hour minimum wage and try to live off of it for a year.
There are no easy answers to the aforementioned problems faced by Albertans. Blatantly repealing or cutting this or that isn’t necessarily the right way to make successful changes for a province. Especially when a new government forms. They should tip toe and slowly figure out ways in which to create positive change and accept policy and things that worked from a previous government. Or better yet, maybe the new government and the previous government could work together and do what is best for Albertans, rather than satisfying a politician’s beliefs or their interests.
Westwind Weekly News