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Alberta

“Ontario Can’t do it Alone” – Fairness Alberta Expands with Eastern Canada Campaign

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It has been just over four months since the launch of Fairness Alberta, a non-partisan Proudly Canadian, Fiercely Albertan organization, in May 2020. Fairness Alberta promotes education and discussion to combat biased government policies and regulations that restrict Alberta’s economic growth and prosperity. By highlighting Alberta’s $324 billion net contribution to the Canadian economy from 2000 to 2019, FA’s mandate is to “inform Canadians about the magnitude of the contributions Albertans make to Canada, while educating Canadian’s about the damaging fiscal, trade, energy, procurement, and infrastructure policies that chronically undermine Alberta’s – and Canada’s – potential.”

Dr. Bill Bewick, Director of Fairness Alberta

The public response to the organization throughout Alberta and across Canada has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Bill Bewick, Executive Director of Fairness Alberta. “Our factual approach is agreeable,” he says, “and even people who are skeptical of Alberta demanding more from the country are willing to listen and learn.”
On September 21, Fairness Alberta expanded into eastern Canada with the launch of their Fall 2020 Campaign in Ontario. The two-part billboard series in Toronto and Ottawa is designed to illustrate just how much Albertans have helped Ontarians carry the fiscal load in the federation over the last decade. “Many people are surprised by the fiscal contributions of each province given the size difference,” says Bewick, “people assume Ontario makes the biggest contribution, but that’s just not the case.”
From 2007-2018, Ontario contributed $98 billion net and Alberta contributed $240 billion net to the country, while the remainder of the provinces have received a combined total of $370 billion.

 

As all Canadian provinces face the daunting road to recovery following the destructive economic impacts of COVID-19, the dissemination of accurate information regarding the crucial role of Alberta in the nation’s recovery remains crucial. Arguably even more so since the recent Throne Speech, delivered by Governor General Julie Payette on September 23, has been widely criticized for once again ignoring the contributions and needs of Albertans in favor of new policies that will further restrict productivity in Alberta by targeting natural gas.

Premiere Jason Kenney openly criticized the Throne Speech and the clean-fuel standard, stating, “We got a litany of policies that would strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs when we most need the industry that generates 20 percent of government revenues in Canada” (1). 

Fairness Alberta has responded similarly to developments from the recent Throne Speech, arguing that Alberta’s role in national recovery cannot be overstated or ignored. “Alberta is an engine in the fragile Canadian economy,” says Bewick, “If that productivity is hindered by the new clean fuel standards, no other province will be able to pick up the slack.” 

The Ontario campaign is set to continue into the month of November, paired with online advertising that draws targeted audiences to their website, and the remainder of 2020 will see an expansion into British Columbia as Fairness Alberta continues to grow and fight for a fair deal for Alberta within Canada.  Bewick believes that “there are millions of fair-minded Canadians out there and showing them the importance of Alberta’s economy is critical right now to ensure the federal government works with Alberta, not against it.” 

For more information on Fairness Alberta, visit fairnessalberta.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Cross-country skiers to pay for parking to use groomed trails in Kananaskis, Alta.

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KANANASKIS, Alta. — The Alberta government says skiers will need to pay for parking to have groomed cross-country trails in the popular Kananaskis Country.

Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon says the province has entered into a one-year partnership with Nordiq Alberta to groom winter trails in the park system west of Calgary.

To support their operations, Nordiq Alberta will start charging $10 a day and $50 for the season to park at trailhead lots in several areas by Dec. 1.

Cross-country ski trail grooming was one of several cuts to parks in the provincial budget last March.

NDP critic Marlin Schmidt says the introduction of fees for cross-country skiing in Kananaskis is just the start of the United Conservative government charging Albertans to access parks.

He says the province is prioritizing corporate tax cuts over the protection of Alberta parks.

Some sporting goods stores across the country have already noticed an increasing interest in ski equipment as people search for ways to get outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Former MP Rob Anders accused of not reporting $750K in income for tax purposes

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CALGARY — Tax authorities allege former Conservative MP Rob Anders failed to report more than $750,000 in net income over five years, court documents show. 

Anders faces five charges, including tax evasion. Some of the charges date back to his time as a member of Parliament.  

Anders, 48, was elected as a Reform MP in 1997 and went on to to represent his Calgary riding until 2015.  

He did not appear in person at his first court date Friday, but was represented by a lawyer who indicated he had just received disclosure on the matter.  

Anders has reserved his plea and the case was set over to Nov. 20.  

The government alleges that in 2012, 2013, and 2014 Anders under-reported his income, which led to multiple charges of making false statements on a tax return.   

Prosecutors further allege that between 2012 and 2018, he evaded payment of taxes, and between 2012 and 2015 he claimed refunds or credits he wasn’t entitled to receive.   

An application to obtain a search warrant for Anders’s Calgary home was filed in March 2013 by the Canada Revenue Agency and outlines some of the allegations in the investigation. 

The charges stem from an audit in 2012 and 2013 that found reported net rental losses on properties in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario at the same time as there were “unexplained” deposits in Anders’s bank account.  

“I reviewed the history of the rental income and rental expenses reported by Mr. Anders and noted he had reported a net loss on his rental properties every year for the 2001 to 2015 tax years inclusive,” wrote the case investigator in the court document.  

“I have reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Anders has understated his income.”  

The document estimates the unreported income at $752,694. 

None of the allegations in the 35-page document has been proven in court.

 In 2012, members of Parliament made about $157,000 a year, and by 2014 they were making about $163,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 30, 2020.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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