Update on Previous Posts


United Conservative Party – the art of welding

United Conservative Party (UC) members will elect the new leader on-line or via phone in three days of voting October 26 – 28, 2017

Four Candidates have emerged; Jason Kenney former PC leader, Brian Jean former Wildrose Party Leader, Jeff Callaway, former Wildrose Party President and Doug Schweitzer a lawyer from Calgary. Absent from the fray is Derek Fildebrandt, who managed to blow up his hopes to bring down Brian Jean by renting his government subsidized apartment through Airbnb and double dipping in the expense account swimming pool.

The race is getting a little testy:

  • The party election committee decided to charge each candidate $75K to run. And they decided not to take a cut of each candidate’s donations. This benefited the Jean and Kenney campaigns and hampers Callaway and Schweitzer. Both immediately labeled the action as anti-grassroots and “pay-to-play”.

  • The candidates each profess to be more respectful and connected to the grassroots than their competitors

  • The UC party had to layoff some paid staff because they were running a deficit and the candidates were quick to lay blame at Brian Jean’s door

  • All the candidates raced to distance themselves for Rebel Media that is associated with “Alt right” philosophy

In a recent poll Jean was viewed more favorably by Albertans (44%) compared to Kenney (32%) Schweitzer (11%) and Callaway (8%). And a voter survey, conducted in late July, has the UC on top with 57 percent support from decided and leaning voters. The NDP follows with 29 percent support, the Alberta Party with nine percent and the Liberals with four percent. 30% of those surveyed were “undecided”.

A Small Business Mantra

Small business across the country is very unhappy with the federal government’s plan to close some loopholes that allow small business to “sprinkle” income to family members who may not have worked in the business. Another loophole allows small business owners to pay tax on registered investments at the small business tax rate not the personal rate. Finally, a provision allows owners to keep capital in the company to avoid taxes.

It is question of fairness with other taxpayers’ says the Minister. Many small businesses and their advocates are up in arms; They cite the strategic and job creation value of small businesses along with the risks and deferred rewards many small businesses face. “Not so fast” say’s the green eyeshade guys in federal Finance; they point to evidence that many corporations are set up principally for the aforementioned tax benefits.

In other news; in Alberta, monthly retail sales (almost 7.0 billion) have almost surpassed the pre-recession peak in October 2014. The retail sales have increased in nine out of the last ten months

Energy East Pipeline: Moving Regulatory Goalposts and or Nation Building?

September 7th TransCanada suspended the its Energy East pipeline application to the National Energy Board for 30 days and may abandon the project. In August the NEB expanded the scope of assessment process by deciding to consider the emissions from production before it gets to the pipe and emissions from the use of oil by consumers. Industry sees this as a vast overreach by the regulator and the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have called out the federal government of what amounts to “double jeopardy since producers are already subject to emissions reviews as part their regulatory process.

TransCanada can’t be blamed for feeling the dice are loaded against them since government has made it painfully clear at every turn that pipeline regulatory regimes will be much more unpredictable and unfavourable to proponents.  By contrast, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast has a green light from the US federal government.