Posted on Oct 20, 2020
SHOW YOUR WORK PREMIER. WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT SPEEDING UP $4.7 BILLION CORPORATE HANDOUT?
EDMONTON - Premier Jason Kenney needs to immediately release all documents related to the decision to accelerate the UCP’s $4.7 billion dollar corporate give away, following a freedom of information request that shows no briefing notes or memos in the Premier’s Office related to the failed strategy.
“Albertans deserve to see the hard proof justifying the Premier’s decision to blow a massive hole in the provincial budget,” said Shannon Phillips NDP Finance Critic. “Kenney needs to immediately release all documents, briefing notes, fiscal and economic analysis that justifies doubling down on a strategy that led to 50,000 jobs lost and shrinking the economy. And if he can’t show Albertans the facts used to make this decision he needs to admit this doesn’t exist and no evidence went into this decision. Show your work Premier.”
In June the NDP Caucus filed a Freedom of Information Request for the Premier’s Office seeking “All correspondence and communications (including but not limited to emails, text messages, memos, briefing notes) from the Office of the Premier, Premier’s Communications Office, Issues Management Office regarding the Job Creation Tax Cut.”
The package released contained:
- A redacted page of communications messaging from UCP Issues Manager Brian Bateson for the December Jobs Numbers,
- A redacted Issue Alert and communications messaging from UCP Issues Manager Brian Bateson for the January Jobs Number,
- Budget Messaging from UCP Deputy Director of Communications Christine Myatt related to the UCP’s spending restraint sent to UCP Press Secretaries,
- A Transcript of the Press Conference at which Premier Jason Kenney and Finance Minister Travis Toews announced the accelerated corporate handout.
Not contained in the package were briefing notes, memos or emails proving the merits of the UCP’s central economic strategy. The complete package received by the NDP Caucus is attached to this news release.
In January, Alberta’s NDP Caucus revealed briefing materials written by Treasury Board and Finance officials during last spring’s provincial election campaign showing that Premier Jason Kenney went ahead with his $4.7-billion corporate handout despite serious concerns from officials that the reductions would not achieve economic goals.
In the April 2, 2019 material, Treasury Board and Finance officials analyze a 2012 study by Erget Ferede and Bev Dahlby, which was relied on by Kenney to justify his platform promise to dramatically cut corporate taxes, concluding the study could not reliably be used to project economic growth and job creation in Alberta given current economic conditions.
“This is a Premier more focused on creating talking points than creating jobs. Jason Kenney ignored the evidence when he first implemented his failed plan and he’s ramping it up without showing any of the data or analysis to justify it now,” said Phillips. “The UCP may think they can avoid answering to Albertans, but we will be demanding answers as the legislature returns to session this week.”