Growing up in Alberta, my parents taught me a golden rule – never talk about politics in a social setting. A golden rule I still respect and one that has carried over to our firm. However, I’m going to make an exception today (sorry Mom) given the historic nature of yesterday’s Alberta election.
Last night, my youngest son and I went to the Calgary Flames playoff hockey game – it was a complete sea of red jerseys, which has become a long-standing playoff tradition. That is, until flashes of orange began to subtly appear within the crowd… pom-poms, yes, red and yellow pom-poms that when waved, turned orange! The color of the ‘opposition’, and little did we know that a few hours later this would be indication of an historic moment in Alberta, when the ‘Orange party’ won the majority.
Indeed, it was a night of ups and downs, both on and off the ice, just as the Flames came from behind once again to shock their opponent (in overtime), so too did the NDP.
First, I’m proud to live in a free and democratic society. The Alberta population has spoken. Given the dissention we have seen in Alberta politics lately, this is not a surprise. However, let’s not sugar coat this – this is a major shock. Alberta’s long history of “right of center” politics, which many consider to be consistent with Alberta’s true entrepreneurial spirit, will now have to learn how to cope with the other side of center.
One does not have to dig too deep in Canadian provincial political history to see the controversy the NDP have been associated with. Our neighbors to the East – Saskatchewan – and West – British Columbia and Canada’s largest province – Ontario – have all had a “colorful” history with the orange NDP. Given such controversy, it is again very surprising the NDP were elected to power in Alberta, notwithstanding the desire for a change.
The NDP are historically known to favor high tax rates for corporations and higher income individuals. Will this cause Alberta to lose its tax advantage? Time will tell and it is way too early to form opinions. In her acceptance speech, NDP leader and premier designate, Rachel Notley, said her party is an entrepreneurial party. Well, I sure hope so. Alberta has thrived with the addition of numerous corporate head offices to its population, and has many successful small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the Alberta and Canadian economy. A potential overall tax increase may not be welcome with open arms during a time of uncertainty in the oilpatch and the Alberta economy.
Alberta needs a continuing environment of support for the best and brightest. What we do not need are unnecessary hurdles, such as tax increases, for entrepreneurs who take significant risk to start new businesses that contribute greatly to the Alberta economy.
So what will happen with the Alberta budget that was recently presented by the former government? Are we back to the drawing board? I guess we are. All businesses, big and small, cringe at uncertainty -so we hope the NDP will not take too long to introduce their first budget.
The Alberta people have spoken, and we applaud Rachel Notley and the NDP party for running a successful campaign. Our firm has always been committed to work with any government to ensure our great province continues to be the example of how businesses thrive.
Rachel, we are passionate about tax matters. If you and your party share our passion, we’d love to chat tax with you…even in overtime. Cheers!