Alberta is the richest jurisdiction in North America. But women living in the province are among the most disadvantaged in Canada, facing higher income gaps, unpaid work gaps, and after-tax income gaps than women living anywhere else in the country.
And despite the renewed and expanded commitments made in Canada to women’s equality in 1995, Alberta women’s equality has markedly deteriorated since then.
One day after International Women’s Day is the perfect time to ask why.
The Alberta government boasts in every budget that with its “Tax Advantage” program, Albertans pay the lowest taxes in Canada, and maybe even in North America. All personal and corporate incomes are taxed at a single 10-per-cent rate – except for small businesses, which pay a low 3-per-cent rate.
It’s curious how the proponents of the “cut first and ask questions later” approach to provincial budgeting continue trying to spread the myth Ralph Klein’s cuts in the 1990s were necessary, and that somehow Alberta and Albertans are better off because of them. It’s as if they believe that singing the same refrains over and over will make them true. But the reality is that these claims are as false today as they were back in 1993.
As Alberta’s economic engine falters, now is a good time to rethink the province putting all its eggs in bitumen’s basket.
When their crops failed, Alberta’s farmers had the pluck to persevere. There’s always next year. That resilience in the face of adversity served them well. But a next-year-country optimism is misplaced when applied to Alberta’s unconventional oil.
The recent capitulation of Danielle Smith and eight of her Wildrose party colleagues to the governing Progressive Conservatives can only be understood by decoding the meaning of conservatism in Alberta and the political purposes that construction serves.
Few ever heard of an obscure problem called “deferred maintenance” before Journal reporter Keith Gerein’s groundbreaking five-part series Condition: Critical. Thanks to the scope and calibre of his reporting, Albertans are now aware of the backlog of necessary and overdue work needed to properly maintain tens of billions of dollars worth of publicly owned schools, colleges, universities, highways, bridges, waterworks, laboratories, office buildings and hospitals.
The Harper government’s recently proposed prostitution law has been widely condemned as unworkable, unconstitutional and hazardous to those working in the sex trade; that it is, in short, bad policy. To criticize the Harper government on policy grounds, however, is to miss the point that it is not actually interested in sound, rational policy. Its sole interest is staying in power.
Earlier this month, Josh Bilyk, president of the Alberta Enterprise Group, wrote an op-ed piece critiquing Public Interest Alberta’s efforts to advocate for fair reforms to our province’s personal and corporate income tax systems and to discuss with Albertans how additional revenues could be used for the public good.