Chamber delivers election platform, units stage for development and prosperity

“It is not simply in regards to the barrels in Alberta,” mentioned Deborah Yedlin, the chamber’s president and CEO

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The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has laid out the enterprise group’s priorities for whichever occasion kinds authorities in Alberta after the spring election.

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The 48-page doc — known as Speed up, and created by enter from chamber members and non-members — prioritizes maximizing finances surpluses for this fiscal yr and the following two, to offer the province an edge throughout a interval of worldwide financial uncertainty throughout what might be the ultimate large increase for the oil and gasoline sector because the transition to renewables features momentum.

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The provincial authorities has forecasted surpluses of $12.6 billion this yr, $5.6 billion subsequent yr and $5.3 billion in 2024-25.

“We’ve got to set the stage for future development and prosperity, and it’s one thing that we’ve struggled with prior to now,” chamber president and CEO Deborah Yedlin mentioned Tuesday. “We’re poised to essentially make a distinction in terms of discovering the roots of decarbonization, and that’s going to offer us a generational alternative from an financial standpoint . . . It’s not simply in regards to the barrels in Alberta. It’s additionally about decarbonizing our nationwide industrial advanced, as a result of what we do right here may be utilized in so many different industries throughout the nation.”

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The chamber has already made its positions clear with each main events forward of the Could 29 election, and mentioned each the UCP and NDP have been receptive.

Chamber members outlined 5 priorities for the yr forward, with entry to expertise and labour taking prime spot, adopted by inflation, price of doing enterprise, potential to safe funding and funding, and provide chain constraints.

The chamber recognized 5 pillars in its highway map to deal with these points.

The significance of fiscal duty shifting ahead

The primary pillar is fiscal duty. The chamber mentioned surpluses must be allotted to 4 key areas — 30 per cent to debt compensation, 40 per cent to the Alberta Heritage Financial savings Belief Fund, 20 per cent to strategic one-time investments that generate financial return and advance diversification, and 10 per cent to affordability measures that alleviate the fast impact of inflation.

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The second pillar is to deal with affordability and rising prices, together with by decreasing company taxes to between six and eight per cent whereas dropping the small enterprise tax to beneath two per cent.

It additionally requires measures to take care of the affordability of utilities and different prices whereas persevering with to chop pink tape.

Office workers walk through a Plus 15 into The Bow office building in downtown on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
Workplace employees stroll by a Plus 15 into The Bow workplace constructing in downtown on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Gavin Younger/Postmedia

The third pillar is to proceed to spend money on financial diversification and competitiveness.

The report famous 70 per cent of Alberta’s royalties come from bitumen, which underscores the necessity for different sources of income. This builds off main initiatives already in place to develop plenty of sectors, together with inexperienced vitality, tech, agriculture, tourism, movie and tv and others. In lots of instances, the present oil and gasoline infrastructure is enjoying a key position in that diversification.

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The chamber can be calling for extra derisking of investments in vitality and important mineral tasks, in addition to the tech sector.

Filling job vacancies

The fourth pillar, expertise and labour, is the highest precedence of companies.

Calgary hit a record-high of 103,000 job vacancies throughout all sectors on the finish of the third quarter in 2022, a complete that had grown by 15,000 for the reason that starting of the primary quarter. This occurred whereas Calgary skilled document inhabitants development in 2022.

With a excessive variety of open jobs, the financial system will battle to function at its optimum stage and restoration shall be slowed. The chamber requires motion to streamline the immigration course of to certify certified expert expertise, together with extra funding in post-secondary helps and programming to higher develop expert labour, in addition to create extra child-care areas.

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The ultimate pillar is for strategic infrastructure investments. This contains investing within the arts and leisure and public security, but in addition in downtown group improvement and re-gentrification.

The chamber is looking for about $448 million in investments to deal with these points.

Former premier Jason Kenney put aside simply $5 million whole for downtown redevelopment in Calgary, an quantity derided by Yedlin as insulting.

“We’re the financial driver, that is the place all the choices for financial funding happen,” mentioned Yedlin. “If we are able to proceed to be a metropolis that could be a magnet for expertise and alternative, then we are able to additionally improve our funding, which is sweet for the tax base. It’s good for employment. It’s good for financial diversification. So most of the selections right here resonate all through and have an effect all through the province.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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