The chamber of commerce, which represents Calgary’s business community, has come out with its 2019 Alberta provincial election platform recommendations.
Titled Businesses Drive Cities That Thrive, the platform makes nine specific recommendations under five principals, which it encourages all provincial parties to adopt.
These recommendations include things like cutting corporate taxes, reducing costs and red tape, helping to build a skilled workforce, supporting free market intervention and returning to balanced budgets.
Chamber president and CEO Sandip Lalli said policies such as high corporate and carbon taxes as well as the increasing minimum wage have hurt business competitiveness, and she’s not blaming any one particular government.
“It’s been successive government policies that have resulted in the lack of competitiveness,” Lalli said. “And so to say that it’s one government over another — that would be remiss.”
Lalli said the chamber is non-partisan and added that it does not support one political party over another.
But Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt told Global News its platform recommendations appear to favour one party in particular.
“It’s supposed to be a non-partisan document but it’s the key message of the United Conservative Party so if the government shifts, they have a better chance of doing this. The NDP is not going to implement many of these recommendations,” Bratt said.
Alberta’s premier, who was speaking to a business audience in Edmonton Thursday afternoon, said she sides with many of the recommendations.
“With respect to business tax cuts, I would say at this point we already are pretty far ahead of the rest of the country,” said Rachel Notley. “We already are competitive with the rest of the country.”
Notley said that when it comes to balancing the budget, it’s important to take what she called a “balanced approach.”
The chamber is sticking by its call to action, and Lalli added that if the policies it’s asked for are implemented, she believes things will turn around.
“One hundred per cent. Our business is very resilient, and we know how to capture markets and see the marketplace,” she said.
“We cannot be competing within ourselves, with our public policy and our economic policy — we need the strength of that to get us to be able to be competitive again. And we’ve done it before.”