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    MLA Report March 3

    Hello Chestermere!
    This was a very interesting week. The Government, with no understanding of what is appropriate, decided to drop the writ for the election in Calgary-Greenway sooner than expected. It is difficult to verbalize the loss we still feel. We realize that the constituents of Calgary-Greenway need a representative in Edmonton. We understand that an election was inevitable. What was unexpected was the speed of the announcement and the lack of respect shown to the nomination process for all political parties, causing the third party to flip flop between appointing a candidate and allowing the members to vote. The most disconcerting thing was a statement issued by the Premiers office:
    “All parties have had months to prepare for this, whether or not they knew the exact date the by-election would be called,” said Oates. “This is by no means a surprise by-election.”
    This is so disrespectful. It is disrespectful to the Bhullar Family, and it is disrespectful to the third party who lost a member and a dear friend.
    We have also heard from the Government about our dire fiscal situation. They raised personal income tax rates. Income tax revenue is down. They raised corporate tax rates. Corporate tax revenue is down. Not working out so well is it? So what’s this year’s deficit number going to be? 6.3 billion? And how about next year? 10.4 billion? 11.3 billion? Even more? Take your pick. There is not a lot of clarity as of yet. The only thing the Finance Minister was clear on was that there would be no spending restraint and the crippling carbon tax is still on the table. We wait with bated breath for answers when the budget is tabled in April. So, what to do? If you ask the economists, they suggest that Alberta is in a good enough situation to be able to handle this deficit. However, they never talk about how we are going to pay it back. We always hear that magical debt servicing number of 1.2 billion dollars, but no one ever talks about paying back the principal amount. At this rate Alberta could easily be over 50 billion dollars in debt by the end of the current government’s mandate. Alberta has a serious spending problem and our present government is not doing things any differently from the previous government. The solution is in moderation, a thoughtful process, and a serious effort to improve efficiency and restrain spending. The volatility of oil and gas requires finesse. It requires the ability for government to encourage the industry to use its ability to adapt and innovate to create stability and encourage investment at times when the sector is crashing. You cannot tax your way out of the hole.
    On a positive note, we invite you to join us in Delacour on April 2 for our Light It UP Blue fundraiser for Inclusion Alberta and Autism Canada. We know that even with the current economic situation, Albertans come together to help Albertans. We are challenging you Chestermere to put together your Chili team. It costs $150 dollars to enter a team and prove you make the best chili. Entry to taste is by donation. Come out and support this very able group of people and come and meet with some of the groups that help connect special needs people with the work force. Please call the office for details or look to facebook.com/LightItUpBlueInDelacour. As always, we love to hear from you.