July 17th, 2024

Only profitable corporations benefit from UCP policies


By Lethbridge Herald on May 28, 2022.

Shannon Phillips – NDP MLA for Lethbridge West

The spring clouds are finally clearing, with the sun earning pride of place in our bright prairie skies. Families are beginning to enjoy more and more outdoor activities and are admiring the hopeful growth in gardens, while local festivities begin to fill up schedules. Yet some pre-summer events may be cause for hesitation rather than springtime glee, with backyard cookouts and barbecues going off the menu as the cost of living continues to rise without an end in sight. 

While food, energy, and insurance costs continue to soar, I’ve been hearing from many families who are struggling to afford basic living expenses and aren’t receiving the support they need from the UCP government, whose meagre offer of utility rebates has proven to be just another empty promise. In March, the UCP announced they would provide retroactive utility rebates in the scant sum of $150 to offset the expensive bills Albertans were handed during the long winter. The UCP tried to convince us that these rebates would offer real support to Albertans, but the UCP have failed to deliver even on this insufficient rebate, proving that the financial safety and stability of average Albertans doesn’t rank high on their list of priorities.

Through all of this, the UCP refused to accept the our attempts to amend the legislation that would provide real financial relief to Albertans as early as next week, even though they initially claimed their rebates would be made available by April 1, 2022. They now claim that their rebates for natural gas and electricity bills won’t be available until fall and winter of this year – almost a full year after families were forced to pay enormous utility bills. This is why my colleague Kathleen Ganley (our caucus’ Critic for Energy) and I have written to the Auditor General with a plea to investigate the UCPs failure to deliver utility rebates to Albertans. To put it bluntly, while UCP friends and insiders are profiting from high energy prices families, seniors, students, and folks surviving on AISH are struggling more than ever to make ends meet.

And now, as temperatures begin to rise for what is shaping up to be a hot summer, so too will many families’ energy bills. Many of our neighbours are trying to decide between an air-conditioned home or an insured home; meanwhile, energy and insurance companies in Alberta have been raking in soaring profits, a result of the UCP governments’ prioritizing the desires of profitable companies over the needs of average Albertan families. 

The UCP’s removal of rate caps for electricity and insurance have caused utility bills and insurance premiums to skyrocket, alongside property taxes and tuition increases for post-secondary students, eroding Albertans’ purchasing power and their ability to cover monthly costs. 

While average folks are falling behind on bills, utility companies across Alberta are increasing their profits by five-fold, as found by a recent study by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. Similarly, auto insurance companies collected a weighty $385 billion in premiums in 2020 alone compared to the previous year when NDP-era premium caps were still in place. 

Once again, it seems that the only people benefiting from UCP policies are large, already- profitable corporations. The average Albertan, meanwhile, suffers as the UCP continues to pile additional costs onto their household budgets. This is while many Albertans are within $200 of meeting their monthly financial obligations, the highest level in Canada to date.

Our provincial government should be doing more to help everyday people in our province during a 31-year high inflation period. 

Although the provincial government can’t control many aspect of inflation or interest rates, it can—and should—protect hard-working and honest folks from the fear of having to choose between a meal on the table and paying an electricity bill. That’s why I’m proud to be part of party that will help keep money in Albertans’ pockets by restoring price protections on utility bills and insurance premiums for cars and homes, and dealing meaningfully with the issues families and seniors are face with. We need a government that is focused on supporting everyday Albertans, fulfilling their promises to families, seniors, and folks on fixed-incomes, rather than protecting the bottom-line of already profitable companies or internal partisan squabbling to decide who gets to be premier this week. 

If you, or anyone you know, needs the assistance of my office, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact us by calling 403-329-4644 or by emailing Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca. 

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buckwheat

Another Lethbridge Herald sponsored missive by the cc (chronic complainer) for the west side. I have a great idea. Lets’s take everyone that supports you and you yourself and tax you at 100%. We’ll make sure that you and your social warriors are looked after. You won’t have anything but you will be happy. “Profit” again a dirty word in the writers books, something which she has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. I put this forth. Shannon, name five (private) corporations that are run by a CEO who is an NDP supporter and show us how they are not in it to make a profit. Business are tired of the profit claptrap, it isn’t your name on the personal guarantees or you writing cheques on a Friday. Oh yeah, check your RRSP and TFSA, those large “too much profit” companies are more than likely in the list of who YOU are invested in. A humbug piece preaching to the choir.

buckwheat

One more for ya. A letter to the editor

RECORD OF FAILURE
Robert Moskal makes a compelling argument why voting should never be mandatory. His simple NDP talking point that corporations are greedy loses any validity when put up against easy and discernable facts. Inflation is too much currency in the market, too many dollars chasing too few products. There’s a shortage of truck drivers and support staff in depots and warehouses. There’s a disruption in the supply chain. Supply management that regulates scarcity. And the biggest impact is government polices: Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax, other fuel taxes, onerous rules and regulations in the trucking industry. Yes, if things were that simple to explain the increase in the price of goods, but it is not as some socialist talking point says it is.
JEFFREY ANDERSON
(Lots of reasons.)

Southern Albertan

What is a ironic paradox for me, is perhaps. ‘waanabe millionaires,’ who will never be millionaires but who keep voting for/supporting, and identifying with, the politics which propagates the ongoing wealth for the top 1%. Believe me, I am not against ‘making money,’ but, there is the thing allowing for individual wealth but, still, creating more equal wealth distribution. We only need to look to other societies/countries who have done this, successfully….Norway being one, where despite higher, and probably more fair taxation, the populace feels they get excellent return on their taxes, which benefits everyone, not just the few, and still allows for individual wealth. These ‘societies’ are judged as being the ‘happiest’ in the world. I well know, myself being from a family of origin who has done very well financially, could well afford to pay a bit more tax, which would, definitely not. hamper their/our business/financial success.
Many in my background are very religious, God-fearing, financially successful folks and it is a reminder, that Jesus was clear on how being ‘christian,’ hinged greatly on how we treat the poor. Supported political policies which benefit only the ‘Bigs,’ the profitable corporations, certainly, is not helpful.

Last edited 2 years ago by Southern Albertan
Les Elford

Such a great comment. Thank you.

Reflecting on how we treat the downtrodden, the poor, the less fortunate, the homeless, the addicted, the old , the sick, the disabled.
There but by the grace of God …… go I.

A brother and I frequently (weekly), go out and interact with some of the less fortunate.

We offer; a friendly face, a smile, get to know their names and bags of bottles to be recycled, a hot coffee and a Egg /sausage McMuffin.

In return we get; a smile, a thank you; and for a brief moment; we get the privilege to see life and a sense of human-ness return to their eyes. If only it could be long – lasting.

I am not stating this to say hey …aren’t we special. We do this small act because we want to…….. No we need to.

I hope others may consider giving it a try.

On the UCP subject; I have a quick question; With oil prices at record high’s ($115.00/barrel) and the need for oil and gas so critical worldwide. why is the the UCP continuing to fund the “War Room” for $30 Million dollars?

johnny57

“Reflecting how we treat the downtrodden, the less fortunate, the homeless, the addicted, the old, the disabled” Please insert “coddle” after the addicted!

Southern Albertan

Perhaps, there could be a better understanding of how, a more equal society which knows how to do decent equal wealth distribution, would offset these issues in a proactive manner, ahead of time, in the first place. It boils down to either the MO, ‘get off your batoot and help yourselves,’ or, ‘getting a hand up to assist folks to help themselves.’ This is why, wise governments/countries/jurisdictions do not, do cuts to most importantly, education, and, health care. A poor, hungry, homeless, physically unhealthy, uneducated society is going to have major problems with the ‘downtrodden, the less fortunate, the homeless, the addicted…which begets the crime involved…very financially expensive in the end, since money really does talk.

Last edited 2 years ago by Southern Albertan
Les Elford

Sir:

A Mental Health crisis has been percolating in this country. In fact governments worldwide have struggled to find acceptable/workable solutions for those affected.

Yesterday, British Columbia announced new legislation to exempt low level drug use from criminal prosecution. The rational was; as I understand it the status quo was simply not working and too many people are dying.

This new and creative way of thinking; identifies addiction as a mental health issue and should therefore be dealt with as such; and not a criminal behavior.

Please do not misunderstand; I do not condone or endorse drug use. I am fortunate enough that this issue does not affect me.

However; I recognize how easily it can/could happen. Genetics, an accident, loss of employment, a divorce, death of a loved one; are just some possible causal factors and may all affect one’s ability to cope differently.

Addiction is not selective in one’s gender, race, nationality, socio- economic standing. It can affect everyone it touches equally. It is not prevalent just on the streets. It is just most visible there.
It likely affects someone in most neighborhoods or workplaces where it is more easily hidden. Perhaps even yours.

Yes; I wish it didn’t have to be this way and addictions, homelessness etc did not exist. I don’t have the right to judge someone else, because I am not perfect.

At least British Columbia has the fortitude , the creativity to “try a different way” Will it work?…. Time will tell. The existing approach has not appeared to be effective.

Please consider the following article.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0017-000706#:~:text=Skip%20to%20main,emergency%20response%20funding

Yes; programs such as these will be expensive. Perhaps the $30 million dollars the current UCP spends on the secretive/confidential “War Room” (which famously did battle with a Disney children’s cartoon) could assist with this issue.

The “War Room” may be another redundant /unnecessary UCP expense which could be spent for a better purpose. Especially, with $115.00+/barrel of oil prices, and a current worldwide recognition of the importance of oil and gas (except in the current Canadian Federal government.

Les Elford

With high fuel prices, I wonder if people are considering converting their gasoline engines to propane, like they did in the 70’s when prices were high.

The current weekly price for automotive propane in Lethbridge is about $1.00 per litre with less tax. Apparently, propane runs much cleaner as well.

I just wonder what the cost/benefit value would be, to convert to propane.

Southern Albertan

Farmers in the area, for example, switched their 3 ton trucks in the day to propane, but they lost so much power that they switched back to gas. There seems to be some thought that if the vehicle came from the factory as propane-fueled, it might have been ‘better.’ Switching to propane frequently seemed to cause trouble with performance.

Les Elford

Ok

Thank you

Les Elford

I wonder if, or when, the UCP government may lower highway speed limits to 90 to 100 km hour in order to help individuals improve highway gas mileage, like they did in the 70’s.

I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but if it will save a few dollars here and there, it may help. I heard recently it could save fuel consumption 20%.