On Tuesday, December 12, Jason Kenney the Premier of Alberta flew to the national capital to meet with the Prime Minister. After two years of actively bashing the federal liberal government, Kenney was on the Hill asking for billions in additional grants for Alberta.
Kenney said it was a strong meeting, but is unsure if he was able to make a strong enough case to the federal government to subsidize tax breaks & corporate welfare for oil companies in Alberta. Alberta pays the already the lowest taxes in Canada.
Kenney over the past few months has mused that perhaps it is time to set up an Alberta Pension Plan. Norway which has a similar level of oil resources has so far saved 1 trillion in their sovereignty fund. Alberta has not yet saved any funds but in fact, has a debt of $68 billion.
Kenney also felt that other provinces would be willing to review the amount of money Alberta receives in equalization payment with a regard to ensuring Alberta get a rebate. It is not known if provinces like Manitoba will be required to pay more and send money to Alberta. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be looking for consensus next week in a meeting with all provincial Finance Ministers on this issue.
Over the past two days, 8 Alberta cabinet ministers have met with their federal counterparts to discuss their respective responsibilities and ways they can work together.
Back in the 1980s an Alberta boom & bust bumper sticker said: “This time, I promise not to piss it away again!”