August 20, 2020 2:57 pm StettlerLocal.com
Earlier this morning, Alberta finance minister Travis Toews and MLA Nate Horner held a brief meeting at West Stettler Park discussing the provincial government’s economic recovery plan.
Minister Toews led the discussion emphasizing that his primary intent was to present the economic recovery plan to the residents of Stettler. He described the three main components of the economic recovery plan, highlighting that all decisions regarding the plan were underpinned by the fundamental approach of ensuring our province has the most competitive business environment in Canada.
The Three Components:
Create Alberta Jobs
Build Core Infrastructure
Diversify Alberta’s economy
Describing the plan to create more jobs in Alberta, Minister Toews noted the acceleration of the job creation tax cut, a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 12% to 8%, which was fast-tracked in response to Covid-19. Further, he explained the Innovation Employment Grant describing how it will help increase the incentive for investment in Alberta, which will lead to new job creation in supposed high-growth industries.
Onto the building of core infrastructure, the Minister focused on the importance of the improvement to roads and other means of transportation in areas of Alberta wherein lack of infrastructure limits investment. He said that work has to be done to improve Albertan productivity, which would help increase investment in Alberta and foster economic growth. Providing an example of a potential infrastructure project the Minister was proud to announce that the Alberta government is working with the Canada infrastructure bank to determine the viability of a passenger rail line from Calgary to Banff
In diversifying Alberta’s economy, the minister described the key economic sectors of which the plan focuses. The main sectors and plans described were as follows:
Energy: We were reminded of the 1.5 billion dollar investment in the Keystone XL pipeline with an assurance that a Biden presidency would not altogether remove the deal from the table.
Agriculture: The Minister expressed the government’s view that agriculture is one of the most critical value-adding sectors in Alberta. The government is looking to increase investment in the industry through means such as improved infrastructure plans.
Tourism: Regarding tourism, Minister Toews reassured that the building of infrastructure would tie in with the key strategies advised to promote tourism in Alberta
Technology: The Innovation Employment Grant is meant to promote Alberta’s technological growth with hopes that improved technology will help improve other sectors such as agriculture.
The discussion then shifted towards government budgets. Referencing the MacKinnon report, the minister implied that the government of Alberta is an outlier in that Alberta pays more on average per capita, to deliver government services to residents than any other province. The suggestion from the Minister was that all levels of government in Alberta, including local municipalities, need to optimize and reduce the cost of delivering vital services.