AIRDRIE, AB (September 25, 2014): Premier Jim Prentice must immediately explain comments by one of his new cabinet ministers indicating he is seriously considering a provincial sales tax, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said today.
Associate Minister of Aboriginal Relations David Dorward, promoted to cabinet by Prentice last week, told delegates at the annual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) convention in Edmonton that Prentice is “absolutely examining” and looking at a provincial sales tax “very, very closely,” the Wildrose Official Opposition learned today.
In response to a question about when the government will consider additional revenue streams, Dorward said “right now and I mean right now.”
He went on to suggest that Alberta needs both royalty revenues and a sales tax. “If we have a sales tax and the royalties we have an advantage because we have the royalty. But we have the royalty but we don’t have a sales tax – so where’s the advantage?”
Dorward concluded his answer by saying “We’re thankful to have very low taxes and no sales tax … but I can tell you that Jim Prentice will absolutely be examining this area and looking at it very, very closely in the future.”
Prentice has also hired Mike Percy, a former Liberal MLA who has repeatedly called for a sales tax, as his Chief of Staff.
An audio recording of Dorward’s comments can be heard here.
Anderson said Dorward is absolutely wrong to suggest that the Alberta Advantage doesn’t exist because we don’t have a sales tax. He’s calling on Prentice to clarify his minister’s comments and reassure Albertans that a sales tax is not under consideration.
“I think most Albertans would agree that a big part of the Alberta Advantage is the fact that we don’t have a sales tax,” Anderson said. “However, Mr. Dorward certainly seems to believe Alberta needs to bring in a sales tax and has indicated his new boss – our unelected Premier – is considering it. I hope Mr. Prentice will distance himself from Mr. Dorward’s comments and make it clear that a sales tax will not be brought it in.”