Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bell: UCP opens door to more taxes, possible sales tax down the road


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“We have to consider it relative to the economic realities in this province and relative to what’s going on in the private sector in this province right now.”

Hope you got all that.

There will be tough decisions in the short term but only in so far as Alberta government spending is out of whack with elsewhere in Canada, the result of an orgy of cheque-writing and featherbedding going back to the self-entitlement of the PC’s Toryland dynasty.

Within the Alberta government, there were those closest to the cheque-writing machine who really pigged out.

There were folks who made off like bandits.

The pensions, the buyouts, the salaries through the roof. Palm Springs, here we come!

Albertans elected a premier who wanted a sky palace built. Remember?

And unions cut sweet deals with governments who wanted labour peace and re-election.

This scribbler chronicled the show. Too few listened.

Toews says he believes down the road it will be necessary for Albertans to look at taxes.

Right now, a sales tax is a no-go. Right now. But when the province is on the road to recovery, taxes will be a talker, including the sales tax.

“I can’t say if that’s 18 months from now or whether that’s in five years just given the fog in front of us relative to the global economic uncertainty,” says Toews.

The man working the numbers on the Kenney government benches doesn’t think people’s heads will explode at the thought of talking taxes.

Perhaps Alberta has changed and tax is no longer considered a bad word.

Perhaps the oilpatch roller-coaster has enough gas in it for one more ride.

Perhaps new businesses will flock to the province and set up shop.

Perhaps a new government will be elected in Ottawa and won’t kowtow to the east as they almost always do.

Still, in the months ahead, Toews will face pushback for the cuts to be made in this coming February’s budget.

And, as the boxer Mike Tyson said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

“Personal comfort doesn’t weigh in here,” says Toews.

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