June 16th, 2024

NDP hoping provincial budget brings relief for Albertans

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 24, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley and Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips are hoping the UCP government budget today provides relief for Albertans embattled by higher costs for gas, groceries, insurance, taxes and utilities.
The two did a joint Zoom conference on Wednesday in which they discussed Tuesday’s throne speech and the budget being unveiled today.
“There was very little support for Albertans with rising costs in the Throne Speech and I’m concerned there will be nothing in the budget,” said Ganley.
“It looks like there’s no help coming from the UCP’s increases on income tax, property tax, tuition, parking fees or car insurance. The only thing they mentioned was the potential support for natural gas bills and while the support is welcome” it may fall short in two areas, Ganley said.
The NDP is worried that support won’t help Albertans with their current bills, she said.
Ganley told media premier Jason Kenney previously said a rebate won’t apply for natural gas until the prices reaches $6.50 cents a gigajoule. With prices currently around $4.50 a gigajoule, “they’ll have to increase almost 50 per cent before help is available for Albertans who are already struggling to pay their gas bills,” she said.
The support for utility rates doesn’t cover the cost of rising electricity rates, she said.
“The UCP lifted the cap on electricity rates and now they’ve more than doubled. Albertans are paying hundreds of dollars just to heat their homes and keep the lights on,” Ganley added, saying many Albertans are seeing bills increase by as much as $300 a month.
“At a time when Albertans are already paying more for everything from groceries to insurance, these increases mean real sacrifices for families.”
Phillips said “we want to see a return to reality for the UCP to actually meet the needs of ordinary people because the speech from the throne had its head in the clouds and did not seem to appreciate just how much people are hurting right now.
“We’ve already called for the UCP to reverse their income tax increases and their cuts to child and family benefits, the seniors benefit, AISH, income support and other programs. We are calling also for real support to help Albertans with skyrocketing utility bills so they don’t have to keep choosing between keeping the lights or this amount of food on their table,” Phillips said referring to $300 worth of groceries that were purchased to show what that money now buys in Alberta.
Phillips said Albertans are expecting the government to produce a balanced budget today.
“We are expecting there to be a surplus due to a dramatic increase in global energy prices. While the UCP will talk about how great the treasury is doing, the reality is much different for ordinary people and every day Albertans,” the Lethbridge West MLA said.
Inflation has led to major price increases on everything from gas to groceries, she said, adding that while inflation is beyond the control of the UCP, several increases are due directly to several policy choices.
Those include income and property taxes, tuition and student debt, park fees, car insurance and utility rates, which have all increased under the UCP, she added.
“As a result of those negative UCP choices, Albertans are struggling,” she said.
“They’re having to make extremely real sacrifices just to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table.”

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They had to sort out the mess first before you “ demand” more. Left with 70 billion debt and a large deficit. Needs to be paid back. No whining allowed.