Federal-provincial-territorial meeting on pensions: Minister Horner
President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Nate Horner issued the following statement following the Nov. 3 federal-provincial- territorial (FPT) meeting of finance ministers:
“This morning, I was able to participate in a federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) discussion with the country’s finance ministers to discuss pensions.
“To be clear, Alberta is committed to making sure that any potential creation of an Alberta Pension Plan will not leave our fellow Canadians without a stable pension and its associated benefits.
“For the past several weeks, Alberta has been having an open discussion about the possibility of establishing an Alberta Pension Plan that will benefit our seniors and workers. This will only happen if Albertans vote to do so in a referendum.
“To help frame the conversation, we commissioned a report by an independent, expert actuary, Lifeworks (formerly known as Morneau-Shepell). The report provides details as to the asset transfer value that Alberta could expect to receive according to the withdrawal formula that was voluntarily agreed to by all Canadian provinces decades ago when the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) was established, and which was once again updated, with agreement by the provinces, in 1997.
“We are encouraged to hear the federal government commit to providing a comprehensive actuarial analysis of the asset transfer value Alberta would be entitled to receive should it withdraw from the CPP. We’ve been asking for this for several weeks. It is critical for the ongoing discussion of an Alberta Pension Plan that we have a firm asset transfer number (and the potential benefit increases to Albertans stemming from that transfer amount) upon which Albertans can make an informed decision.
“There are other critical conversations happening across the country, including the federal government’s changes to the carbon tax. We have all heard multiple premiers raise concerns about the federal government’s recent actions on carbon tax carve outs for some provinces, and several finance ministers again raised the urgency of this issue during our call, including me.
“Canadians remain in the midst of an affordability crisis and the carbon tax continues to hurt us all. While a number of us had hoped to also address this issue during the call, I am very eager to have a fulsome conversation at our next FPT, scheduled for Dec. 14-15. At that time, I hope we can discuss cutting the carbon tax so Albertans and Canadians will no longer be penalized according to where they live, and which members of Parliament they elect.”
Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn
Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future
From the Canadian Energy Centre
By Cody Ciona
‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’
A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar.
Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production.
“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said.
“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.”
Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty.
Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines.
The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said.
“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said.
“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.”
Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction.
“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said.
“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.”
Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses
Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014.
For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway.
“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said.
“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.”
Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget
From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Albertans need income tax relief now
Author: Kris Sims
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.
“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”
The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.
During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.
The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.
The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.
By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.
In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.
In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.
“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.
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