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CFIB presents to Alberta’s Fair Deal Panel

Between low investor confidence and a struggling energy industry, we know business owners, like you, are frustrated that many Canadians don’t understand Alberta’s current crisis or our economic contributions to the country.

In response to Alberta’s struggling economy and feelings of frustration, the Alberta government appointed the “Fair Deal Panel” and tasked panel members with consulting Albertans on how best to define and secure a fair deal for the province.

Our Alberta legislative team, including CFIB’s Executive Vice-President Laura Jones, presented to the Fair Deal Panel on February 4th. Our recommendations were based on preliminary survey results from CFIB’s National Energy & Environment survey. The survey gauged your views on a variety of topics ranging from how best to balance environment concerns with resource development, to the impact of policies like carbon taxes and how to address the challenges of western frustration. We also asked our Alberta members specifically about the Fair Deal Panel, as well as what other priorities the Alberta government should investigate to obtain a “Fair Deal” for the province.

The following are some key preliminary findings from our survey:

  • Investor confidence: 93% of Alberta members agree (65% nationally) that Canada is facing serious challenges with respect to investor confidence
  • Health of Canada’s oil & gas sector is important for the whole country: 98% of Alberta’s small businesses agree (88% nationally) that the strength of Canada’s oil & gas industry is important to the whole country
  • Energy & Environment: 87% of Alberta’s small businesses agree (81% nationally) it is possible to further develop Canada’s energy economy & protect the environment at the same time
  • Alberta currently does not get a Fair Deal: 95% of Alberta members agree that the province currently does not get a fair deal with the Canadian federation.
  • Priorities the Alberta government should investigate to obtain a “Fair Deal” for the province:
    • 89% of Alberta members placed a high priority on educating the rest of Canada about Alberta’s economic contributions to the country.
    • 82% of Alberta members also placed a higher priority on pushing for a one-time transfer payment for Alberta under the fiscal stabilization fund.
    • Other ideas of collecting provincial taxes directly & creating an Alberta Pension Plan had less support.

CFIB proposed the following recommendations for the Panel to consider in its final report to the government on how to improve investor confidence and address western alienation:

  • Create a non-partisan group of high-profile ex-politicians, academics, and business leaders to educate Canadians on the current crisis in Alberta, and the importance of the province’s economic contributions to the country.
  • Continue strong advocacy efforts to push the federal government to develop clear and predictable rules and timeframes surrounding the approval of large natural resource projects.
  • Actively promote Canada’s natural resources internationally.
  • Take a leadership role in opening up discussions with other provinces to stop further CPP premium increases; And do not follow the federal government in limiting businesses’ access to the small business deduction based on passive investment income.
  • Push for a one-time transfer payment for Alberta under the fiscal stabilization fund.

What’s next: In the months ahead, we will continue to push for these changes in our meetings with the province and the federal government. We also included these recommendations in our Alberta 2020 pre-budget submission.

As always, please contact us at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected] if you have any additional comments or concerns.

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