01 Jun Provincial Fiscal Policies
Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, self-attribution bias is the tendency for people to attribute successes or good outcomes to their own abilities while blaming failures on circumstances beyond their control. That sounds very familiar. When the NDP came to power, Alberta’s economy was already on its way down. Oil prices were tumbling, and Alberta jobs and government revenues fell along with them, but anything bad that happened was only a result of circumstances beyond the NDP’s control.
But did they do everything they could to cushion the blow? Absolutely not. Their biggest mistake was creating uncertainty in Alberta’s investment climate, unnecessarily driving capital from our province. They didn’t make any effort to find reasonable efficiencies in government, just like households and businesses all over our province were forced to do. They didn’t pursue transformational change in health care, and they raised Alberta’s corporate tax rate 20 per cent, which actually drove down tax revenues further than they would have gone from a slowing economy alone.
And now that Alberta’s economy is recovering, who is there to take the credit? Why, it’s the NDP, Mr. Speaker. They don’t think it was their fault when things went wrong; it is certainly not their doing when the economy rebounds. I can assure you that Alberta’s economy would come back much stronger if the NDP had exercised even a modicum of fiscal restraint and taken steps to create investor certainty. Sadly, the NDP haven’t done enough to attract new industries to Alberta and instead continue to rely on the price of oil. I sincerely hope oil prices do recover and our economy with them, but the NDP needs to take real, concrete steps to support Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit.
The Alberta Party would pursue an “and” economy where we continue to produce reliable, responsible oil and gas, and we would create the conditions where Alberta entrepreneurs can create the jobs of tomorrow in green tech, agribusiness, renewables, IT, and so much more. It is possible, Mr. Speaker, but only if we have a government that understands innovation and is willing to create the conditions to allow it to happen here.