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Throne speech targets economic renewal
The first speech from the throne from Premier Jason Kenney’s government placed economic growth and job creation as top priorities.
Delivered by Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, the throne speech opened the first session of Alberta’s 30th Legislature Wednesday.
“It is our duty and our destiny to renew Alberta’s role as an economic and political leader within Canada,” Mitchell said.
‘Open for business and open for jobs’
Main priorities include creating jobs, growth and economic diversification; and safeguarding Alberta’s right to control and develop the province’s natural resources, including securing pipeline access.
“Our government is taking immediate action to get Alberta back to work by renewing our province’s fiscal and economic advantages, standing up for our interests within the Canadian federation and making life better for Albertans by renewing the quality of our public services,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a release.
The government also committed to maintaining the quality and effectiveness of public services, particularly health care and education.
Carbon Tax Repeal Act
The government’s first bill is fulfilling a campaign promise to eliminate the carbon levy. Premier Jason Kenney will personally introduce Bill 1, the Carbon Tax Repeal Act.
“In providing $1.4 billion in tax relief, it will make everything more affordable for Albertans,” Mitchell said.
The speech also reiterated Premier Kenney’s commitment to protect Albertans from a federal carbon tax, including legal action if necessary.
The government will also introduce the Open for Business Act, the Job Creation Tax Cut Act and the Red Tape Reduction Act in the spring session.
“Albertans have always punched above their weight in the national economy. By removing obstacles to growth, we are sending a clear message to investors, job creators and entrepreneurs all over the world that Alberta is once again open for business and open for jobs,” Kenney said.
Throne speech commitments
The government pledged to restore energy sector competitiveness and investor confidence with the Royalties Guarantee Act. It will tackle climate change by focusing on industrial emissions and will make it easier for newcomers to get credentialed in their professions and find work at their skill levels.
With the creation of the Indigenous Opportunities Corporation, Alberta Indigenous groups will have more opportunity to be financial partners in natural resource development and infrastructure projects.
There are plans to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on farmers, and to give municipalities more power to use property tax incentives to attract investments and jobs.
The government promised to reform Alberta’s curriculum and increase education choice for Alberta families.
It will introduce protections for victims of human trafficking and expand protections for victims of domestic violence. And in an effort to combat crime, the government will hire more Crown prosecutors and provide additional resources to police.
The throne speech summarized some of the planned legislation for 2020, listing “democratic reform, economic growth and environmental protection, public infrastructure, charitable giving, municipal governance, the economic rights of artists, conservation and outdoor recreation, and family law.”