Hello Chestermere! First of all I would like to say “Wow!” Canada Day was such a success. The weather held out, and several thousand of you came out and enjoyed the day. I want to thank you for joining us at our Langar. We served just over 1500 people, and it was truly our great honour and pleasure to serve you on Canada’s 151st birthday.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the updated Municipal Government Act (“MGA”). The MGA states that every municipality has to have its own plan for development of the area, and has a plan to cope with growth. As you know there have been many conflicts over the years between Chestermere, Calgary, and Rocky View County, especially when it comes to industrial development. The new act states that municipalities have to talk and they have to come up with long term plans that manage things like growth, and they have to create boards that work together in order to do this. Just so you know, many municipalities had these growth boards before the government intervened. Chestermere is involved in a growth board called the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board along with Airdrie, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks, and Strathmore. They will all be working on a plan that works for all of them as far as development strategies go and plans for growth. Chestermere is the second fastest growing city in the country, so you can see why this is important. The question we have to ask ourselves, the questions we asked during debate, is why does the government think it is better at designing this plan than the municipalities themselves? Oh don’t get me wrong, the municipalities are submitting their plans, but the government will step in if there are any issues and write the plan for them. It is one thing to engage in collaborative behavior, it is quite another to say if you cannot work it out we will make it happen for you. Remember that there is nothing wrong with competition for new business. It makes for better projects and better, more responsive municipal governments. Rocky View touches nine different municipalities and has to come up with nine plans which is a daunting task..
I would like to chat about the NDP financial update. Deep breath. This government decided to raise taxes on our province during a structural deficit. A structural deficit is a “built in” imbalance in government revenues and expenditures due to bad Government policy. This can happen even when revenues are high, but the important piece of this puzzle is that it shows a Government’s financial management throughout all phases of the business cycle. A budget deficit is the result of Government spending more than it receives in tax dollars. Deficits are financed by borrowing, and we are in our 9th structural deficit in a row. This leads to a lack of confidence that our Government can pay off what they owe. One thing we know is that we want people to spend money during a structural deficit, and one thing that inhibits that ability is over taxing people when they are worried about their future economic prospects. The result is less tax dollars, less revenues and job creation becomes very difficult. For example the NDP raised business and personal taxes and their revenue from those taxes went down. Right now personal and corporate income tax revenue is down $402 million showing us that these tax hikes have done nothing to help Alberta’s finances. This impacts services for you. We will pay 2 billion in servicing the debt this year–that does not pay down the debt, it pays the interest on the debt! The Government has increased its spending and then claims restraint. The numbers do not add up my friends.
I need to take a moment and thank all the volunteers who helped so that I could be your United Conservative representative in the next general election. With your help we sold over 450 memberships in the last 5 weeks, including renewals and new members. Thank to our volunteers who phoned, door knocked, lit dropped, organized volunteers, and helped to set up membership drives. I am nothing without you. I am ever so grateful.
Finally, I would like to welcome Vicki Welsh to our staff at our office in Chestermere. We are so lucky to have this vibrant and wonderful “Chestermerian” working for us, and she is excited to meet you as well. Thank you Vicki for coming on board at this crazy time. We are so happy to have you on board!
As always we love to hear from you!