Posted on Aug 17, 2020


CALGARY - One year ago today, UCP Energy Minister Sonya Savage admitted to the media she was “a little disappointed” that Premier Jason Kenney’s $4.7-billion corporate handout, a “windfall” in her words, was being used to line the pockets of corporate shareholders and not create any jobs.

Since that day in 2019, unemployment has soared from 7.1 per cent to 12.8 per cent, pushing another 185,900 Albertans out of work. Only 27 rigs were operating in July 2020, down from 86 in July of 2019, and the energy sector has slashed capital spending plans for 2020 by a third.

“Jason Kenney didn’t cause the pandemic or the energy crash, but his response to them is the same corporate handout that was already failing to create jobs before anyone had even heard of the coronavirus,” said Deron Bilous, NDP Opposition Critic for Economic Development. 

Despite losing 50,000 jobs between the start of the corporate handout and the beginning of the pandemic, the UCP refused to reconsider the policy. Instead, Jason Kenney announced the government would speed up, slashing the rate to eight per cent as of July 1.

“Sonya Savage admitted it was a failure last year but instead of pumping the brakes, they hit the gas. Albertans are struggling and instead of putting forward a real plan to create jobs, Jason Kenney and the UCP are putting more money in the pockets of bankers and shareholders,” said Bilous.

In 2019, columnist Chris Varcoe noted “during the second quarter, oilsands producer Suncor Energy reported net earnings climbed to $2.7 billion, including a one‑time deferred income tax recovery of $1.1 billion to reflect the reduction of Alberta’s corporate income tax rate. Imperial Oil estimated its net income at $1.2 billion for the quarter, including the impact of $662 million tied to lower corporate income taxes.”