Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney has indicated that his United Conservative government will reveal details next week about additional aid to help people cope with high inflation.
Earlier this week, when Treasury Secretary Jason Nixon announced a $3.9 billion surplus at the end of fiscal year 2021-22, ending March 31, Nixon said one of the goals was to explore further ways to empower Albertans. to help get through the current series of rising prices.
The county already cut its share of the gas tax earlier this spring and will soon have $150 in electricity rebates to help offset the impact of inflation.
On Saturday, while responding to a question about inflation put to him by a caller on his national radio show on CHQR and CHED, Kenney said there would be an announcement about more support, which he thought would come this week.
He did not elaborate on what the measures might be, and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email for details.
Kenney told his radio audience that there are several explanations for the high inflation, including federal monetary policy and large federal deficits, as well as energy shortages linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Anyone who says there’s only one simple explanation is fibbing,” Kenney said.
“I think most experts are hoping, or projecting, that this will get off the ground next year, but we’re probably going to have a few more months of high inflation.”
Kenney said he agreed with federal conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s claim that the Bank of Canada fueled inflation by, as Kenney put it, “printing tens and tens of billions of dollars in new fiat currency.”
Poilievre has threatened to fire Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem if he is elected prime minister.
Alberta’s bread-and-butter oil and natural gas industries have soared in recent months as global economies rebounded as pandemic measures eased and the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted global energy supplies.
Nixon said another plan for the windfall is to build the province’s $18.7 billion savings nest — the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
Shannon Phillips, financial critic of the opposition NDP, said after the windfall was announced that the government is failing to deliver on promised funding for a range of public services, from education to ambulance response.
Kenney said Saturday that the surplus would not have arisen if his administration had not “applied spending restraint”.
“One of the problems in modern Alberta is when we get an oil boom, we keep track of our spending and spend what’s coming in. And when our revenues go down, taxpayers are left with debt,” he said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 2, 2022.