PHOTOS: NDP Leader Rachel Notley addresses the media at her news conference today at an Edmonton hotel. Below: Some of the media at the event and former Conservative premier Peter Lougheed, whose memory was invoked more than once at the event.

The big question about the detailed NDP fiscal plan, released this afternoon at a slickly run news conference in Edmonton by Leader Rachel Notley, is how voters will receive it.

That we won’t know for at least a couple of days.

Because the election platform contains a job-creation program, a serious review of royalty rates for the resources we all own and a reversal of the massive cuts to health care and education for which Premier Jim Prentice insisted he needed a mandate to justify the early election that he’s finding isn’t going as swimmingly as he expected, it’s pretty obvious how Austerity Party 1 and Austerity Party 2 will react.

You can probably expect a panel of six or seven serious-looking Progressive Conservative ministers to show up at an Edmonton hotel any minute now to prognosticate grimily about what happens when you “tax and spend.”

As for the Wildrosers, representing the incandescently angry wing of the conservative movement, they’ll say the same thing even louder, possibly with the whites of their eyes visible.

However, arguing from the authority of Peter Lougheed – the founder of the nearly 44-year-old Tory dynasty that haunts us Albertans still – Ms. Notley made her detailed proposal for a budget that would use modest tax increases for the wealthy and major corporations to balance the budget by 2017.

That’s the same year Mr. Prentice promises a balanced budget, only without the cuts to key public services like health care and education that he proposes.

Mr. Prentice certainly can’t accuse the NDP of not having costed out its proposals for governance, as he said of the Wildrose Party’s platform.

Ms. Notley sounded calm and reasonable when she brushed off the premier’s recent accusations of “extremism.”

“Instead of listening to Mr. Prentice,” she explained, “I’ll listen to premier Peter Lougheed, who said that it’s time for Alberta to consider a corporate tax increase. Like Mr. Lougheed, I believe what we’ve set out today is a common sense better approach, an approach that builds instead of tearing down.”

That’s not ancient history, by the way. Mr. Lougheed made that observation on May 11, 2011, less that a year and a half before his death at 84.

Key points in the NDP platform included:

  • A job-creation tax credit that would rebate 10 per cent of wages paid to new hires up to a salary of $50,000, which the NDP predicts would create 27,000 new jobs.
  • A review of Alberta’s resource royalties and tax incentives, and new policies to promote processing and upgrading in Alberta that would “create jobs, diversify Alberta’s economy and reduce our exposure to crude oil price swings.”
  • A ban on corporate and union donations to political parties.
  • A rollback of Mr. Prentice’s planned $1-billion cuts to health care, plus efforts to fill the 600,000 square feet of hospital space currently sitting empty.
  • Creation of 2,000 new long-term-care beds over four years to make places for seniors and reduce pressure on Emergency Rooms and acute care facilities.
  • A rollback of planned cuts to education and what the NDP calls the premier’s “decision to leave 12,000 new students without teachers this coming year.”
  • Investments in child care for families.
  • A break from Mr. Prentice’s health care levy.
  • Reintroduction of progressive income taxes in Alberta.
  • Reintroduction of fairer corporate taxes in Alberta with a 12-per cent corporate tax – “the small business exemption  will be preserved.”
  • Plus, of course, no new sales tax, which Ms. Notley called preserving the Alberta Advantage with a cheeky tip of the hat to Ralph Klein.

This post also appears on


Join the Conversation


  1. excerpt: Historically, the petroleum industry has always resisted government efforts to increase the royalty rate. And, historically, rates have always gone up—until the 1980s and Klein. This oppositional stance is just a negotiating tactic industry uses against an owner who always has the power—and the right—to collect an increased share.

    I’m hoping ordinary Albertans will recognize the NDP won’t bend in response to the attack that can now be expected from PCs+WRP on behalf of corporate petro-elites.

    That attack is coming based on AB history. Social Credit/Manning was attacked. & Lougheed. & Stelmach.

    Prentice & WRP Jean will be doing their cheerleading imitation of Klein for the next weeks.


    David Finch has observed the oil industry for decades. His latest book, Pumped: Everyone’s Guide to the Oil Patch was published by Fifth House in Fall 2007.


    Prentice alliance with industry is a return to Klein mode.

    excerpt: ‘Klein’s alliance with industry emboldened oil companies in their sense of entitlement to a publicly owned resource.’

    Notley’s NDP can expect the petroleum industry to protect their `entitlement` to ABs oil & gas.

    And Prentice and WRP will likely join in on behalf of their joint venture government of AB with the petroleum sector.`


    The petro funding history of WRP ( in Calg Herald)

    excerpt: `…it is my contention that the real trigger for the rise of the Wildrose party as a major player on the Alberta political stage was Ed Stelmach’s royalty review.“

    excerpt: Third, it set the stage for Paul Hinman’s by-election victory in Calgary-Glenmore in Fall of 2009 with his slogan of “Send Ed a Message.”

    Fourth, and much more importantly, Wildrose started to receive some heavy donations from individuals and corporations within the oil and gas sector.

    2008 $233 thousand
    2009 $700 thousand
    2010 $1.8 million
    2011 $2.7 million

    We do not have the figures for 2012, but party donations rise during election years, we can expect that it would be more than $2.7 million.

    This infusion of cash has allowed Wildrose to go into the election with a campaign war chest. For the first time since 1971, the PCs were facing a well financed opposition.

  2. How will corporations+PC react?

    Given that corporate donations are very significant to #PCAA. Again.


    Globe and Mail story:

    80 per cent:

    Wading through the financial data reveals that 80 per cent of the donations to the PC Party above $250 were from corporations, while just 20 per cent came from individuals. Even if we assume that all donations under $250 were from individuals, the PCs would still have received 75 per cent of their donations from corporations.

    Other parties’ donations above $250 were considerably less corporate, ranging from the upstart Alberta Party at 40 per cent, with the remainder of the bigger parties at between 1 and 8 per cent.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.