July 12th, 2024

Kenney showing little interest in managing cost of living


By Lethbridge Herald on February 25, 2022.

Shannon Phillips – MLA for Lethbridge West

This late-February cold snap brings with it a number of anxieties for many folks in southern Alberta. There are of course the safety concerns and existential fears of our neighbours who are unhoused. There are the frustrating and grinding limitations faced by those that work every day to support them. And recently, for the rest of us, there are fresh worries about what the inclement weather will mean for the next time we open our utility bills. 

It’s clear from my conversations that there are many things weighing heavily on family budgets in our community, making life that much more challenging at a time when many of us just want things to be a bit easier after two years of living through a global pandemic. From food to utilities to rising costs of automobile insurance, the things we need to live good lives and take care of our families are getting more expensive, and the strain is building for many of us.

Over the last few months I’ve heard more and more from constituents who are feeling pinched by utility bills, by the rising cost of heating and lighting their homes, and the ways in which these costs are forcing them to make difficult decisions. I’ve heard from people cutting back on discretionary spending, postponing needed purchases – even as far as scaling back grocery purchases. These skyrocketing costs are having a real and profound impact on southern Albertans. What’s more is that in many cases wages aren’t going up to meet these increased demands on family budgets, and many of our neighbours on fixed incomes – including those on provincially sponsored support programs for seniors and those living with disabilities – are seeing their limited funds going less and less far each month. 

This week is a crucial one for many Albertans who are being challenged by rising household costs. Between Tuesday’s Throne Speech from the Kenney government and yesterday’s budget, many Albertans were looking to the UCP government to provide just a little bit of help with these costs to make life a bit easier as costs soar and paycheques don’t go as far as they used to. The government would be wise to heed these desires and to take serious action to help control costs for working families and those on fixed incomes. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to controlling household costs, the Kenney government has shown little interest over the last three budgets in managing the cost of living for Albertans. At almost every decision point, he has prioritized corporate tax giveaways over kitchen table costs being faced by Alberta families. 

Whether that’s removing the cap on the cost of auto insurance, exploding the cost of post-secondary education, increasing the costs of recreation at our province’s parks and cultural sites, or allowing runaway electricity costs to take hold, it’s clear that the Premier and his government have decided that the issues that we all deal with when making household economic decisions are at the bottom of his priority list. 

The seeming preference of this government to load additional taxes, costs, and obligations on families at an incredibly challenging moment for most of us is why our NDP caucus has been working hard to put forward a number of proposals to stem the rise in the cost of living in the province. 

From urging the government to reimplement the cap on electricity rates that was in place until the UCP repealed it, to standing up against efforts to de-index benefits so that seniors and those with disabilities aren’t left behind by inflation, our caucus is standing up for everyday people struggling with incredibly difficult decisions on how to make their resources go as far as they can. 

Albertans deserve a government that is focused on the challenges facing them. Unfortunately, this UCP government has shown themselves time and time again to be consumed either by internal feud, petty political vanity projects, or the interests of their well-connected friends and insiders. I, along with Rachel Notley and the rest of the Alberta NDP team, am ready to provide the support that Albertans deserve, and to focus on the issues that matter to working families. 

Because my office has been hearing many concerns about the cost of living over the last month, I wanted to provide some advice to those who may have experienced a bit of a gut punch when they opened their December utility bills. 

If you have concerns about your bills, or to find out ways in which you may be able to find a better deal, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca to access Alberta’s Utilities Customer Advocate. They will be able to provide some further insight as to why bills were so high this winter, and offer some advice on next steps. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, please let me and my office know. You can reach us by calling 403-329-4644 or by emailing Lethbridge.west@assembly.ab.ca 

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Citi Zen

At least the Kenny government has balanced the budget, which the NDP couldn’t do, with all their stupid spending on feel-good environmental issues.
Our energy bills are so high due to environmental restrictions pushed on us by the NDP.

Southern Albertan

Again, now that petroleum prices are up, the budget could be called, “Back on the rollercoaster.” It really should not have to be said again, global oil prices crashed in 2014. The AB NDP won the election in 2015. The now UCP is no better than a fence post being able to balance a budget now that global oil prices are back up…..for now.
http://www.albertapolitics.ca
Another little interesting tidbit this morning is the poll question here: “Do you think the province should cap utility rates?” The “Yes” votes far exceed the “no” votes. The AB NDP had utility rates capped. The Kenney UCP removed the caps. Who would now reimplement the caps? The NDP or the UCP?

Last edited 2 years ago by Southern Albertan
Lethson

Ha! A traffic cone could balance the budget with this oil spike. It’s takes a special incompetence to make health care, education, and municipal transfers worse while doing it, however.

johnny57

Yes Shannon we as Albertans are facing a lot of challenges these days, tightening our belts ever more than before! But the last thing we need now is advice from you and your NDP cohorts shoving your business-backward ideology down our throats! We have seen countless examples why your ideology time and time again does not work! We need to look no farther than our great Saskatchewan neighbors to the East. Why did almost 50% of them leave their province for richer fortunes here? Shannon you can bibble-babble until the cows come home but we have the best and only solution now in Edmonton. Better days will come as long as we keep the socialist’s on the sidelines where they belong!

Southern Albertan

Alberta voter’s voting intentions still, appear to be holding the AB NDP in majority territory range. For us nerds who watch politics closely, the AB NDP’s Notley is more, like the former Premier Lougheed fiscal conservative, than the Kenney UCP ever would be. Perhaps, the majority of Albertans are more than well aware of this.

Fairness

PhiLIPS can and did bibble-babble for 15 minutes in the Feb. 23 evening Assembly sitting. She, in her estimation has been a victim of harassment and intimidation. Maybe the RCMP felt they were a target of her misinformation a.k.a lying. Read her rant which includes a tirade re the border blockages..

TonyPargeter

“Fairness” is a joke name obviously. Like Fox News being “fair and balanced” instead of the first fraudulent news organization that ultimately caused the Jan. 6th insurrection, which of course they evaluated otherwise, just as Trump losing the election was a “big lie.”
It’s the truly evil conservative tactic that brings Putin to mind.

JustObserving

More negativity from Ms. Glum and her band . It amazes me how the Dippers fail to comprehend the connection between revenues and expenditures let alone the concept of ” balancing a cheque book”. All the rebates, caps, raises, pouring dollars into union coffers and other largess advocated by the Dips has to be funded by something. You wanted to kill oil and other fossil feul revenues. How much has solar and wind thrown into the provincial pot ? Or were you planning yet again to implement unannounced and undisclosed methods to fund your pet projects after another election?
The Dips will lose the next election. Albertans are annnoyed at some of the antics of Kenny and his gang but memories will be refreshed and the “cost” of imparting a lesson in humilty as was done last time will not be forgotten.

Southern Albertan

Well, time will certainly tell as to how next year’s election turns out. Certainly, Kenney, et al, are desperately hoping for memories of their bumbling will fade…that’s even if the UCP within itself decide whether to give Kenney the boot themselves. 🙂

biff

exactly what was it the ndp did to manage cost of living? supposedly social, you went and lined pockets with an absolutely stupid light bulb scheme. that sucked money away from people in need with what amounted to an egregious waste. the wealth of a society comes from its resources – which should belong to the people. the ndp should wrested control over our wealth back to the rightful owners. the ndp should have taken control over our energy (electric/gas), which we are hopelessly dependent upon. gasoline is another area that requires govt control. each of these are the basis for inflation and runaway costs. they are each the basis of money being sucked from the individual and the public purse. what you folks did was spend what we did not have, and did nothing insofar as alleviating the very issues that suck the wealth of land from the public and the individual and redirect it to the usual cast of crony sleazes.

old school

Carbon tax , crazy high utility bills . Supported by your local NDP.

Southern Albertan

No, the NDP carbon tax was being reinvested back into Alberta to help diversify our economy. Now, we are stuck with the federal carbon tax because the Kenney UCP took away our own carbon tax. And, the NDP had caps on utility bills which the Kenney UCP removed.

johnny57

Give your head a shake! Living in one of the most Northerly climates on the planet and rely so heavily on fossil fuels to heat our asses, why would any government bring-in or continue a tax that puts a burden on its citizens. THINK ABOUT IT!

Southern Albertan

Pricing carbon is when, not if. The Conservatives were the first to promote it, and, even Preston Manning urged Conservative leaders to stop dissing carbon pricing. When we had our own carbon tax we really did not notice a difference in the cost of gas and one member of our household was rebated having made a lower income. Other countries/jurisdictions have successfully, for years, priced carbon without negatively affecting their economies. Sometimes it might be beneficial to see the trees, and, the forest.

johnny57

A tax is still a tax! Should not matter who brings it in! When you live in cold climates such as Canada such a tax should not be allowed at all. If you are in warmer climates around the globe then yes tax to the max!
Even I could support such a tax. The only way you could support this money-sucking tax up here is if you are one of those delusional radical tree-huggers!

biff

exactly. taxing essential needs is ridiculous. taxing wants is a different consideration.

buckwheat

Siren

biff

yes, but also supported by the cons. we are held hostage by virtual monopolies in key areas of necessity: home energy (gas/electric), gasoline. there is no actual competition. to add insult to injury, we get charged for electrical grid build outs by these privately held entities. the system is rigged. but, it is not just because of the ndp. if we held ownership of our resources, the profits return to us. we can reduce income taxes and easily pay for our shared infrastructure and social needs (ie education and health). inflation is far more easily controlled – let us face it, the biggest driver right now is energy cost – and with less money raked from the income of each, there is more money to grease the economy.

meisplayfull2

Haha Shannon opens with “the recent cold spell” yes a couple of days but people , remember December and January , many many consecutive of below normal, CTV Calgary reported that Calgary did set a new cold record. My neighbour was proud of their 900 lighbulb Christmas display and many more on inside Christmas tree. They also plugged their car in all night plus warmed their car each morning for about an hour for a 10 minute drive to work. So of course it is Kenny’s fault that my neighbours received a record high electrical bill.