Posted on Mar 18, 2021
UCP WON’T RULE OUT SALE OF ATB TO BAY STREET
EDMONTON - Finance Minister Travis Toews has refused to rule out selling ATB Financial when directly asked by NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips in Question Period on Thursday.
The question was raised by Phillips after an Angus Reid survey asked questions about the potential sale of ATB to TD Canada Trust, including questions regarding which conditions of a sale would make it more favourable to respondents.
“There are only two parties that would be asking questions about this - TD or the UCP government,” said Phillips. “If ATB is up for sale, the people of Alberta deserve to know.”
Toews denied any knowledge of the poll, but would only say he had “no plans to sell ATB.”
According to ATB’s second-quarter results, the crown corporation made $90 million in profits last quarter and has almost $55 billion in assets, while employing 5,000 people. ATB also has a mandate to reach all Albertans, providing a vital service to Albertans. They operate in more than 245 Alberta communities, and provide services to rural communities where many large Bay street banks don’t exist.
The prospect of selling ATB comes after Albertans learned Monday that Rogers has tendered an offer to buy Shaw, turning Shaw’s Calgary head office into a regional office for the Toronto-based firm, as the combined company looks to find $1 billion in savings through synergies.
The potential loss of Shaw follows a recent trend under the UCP government that’s seen the loss of head offices to other jurisdictions, most notably Ovintiv (formerly Encana) moving to the United states. Since then, several oil and gas companies have disappeared through mergers that include Husky and Cenovus. The deal is expected to lead to the loss of roughly 2,000 jobs.
These losses come despite promises from Premier Jason Kenney to attract investment and create jobs through his $4.7 billion corporate tax handout. In particular, he has promised to attract financial institutions to the province.
“This is part of a disturbing trend of economic decision-making leaving Alberta under Jason Kenney and heading for the US or Eastern Canada,” said Phillips. “And just like their failed corporate tax handout, the benefits will go to out-of-province shareholders while Albertans are left empty-handed.”