Voters should know what the NDP represent
If you believe in reasonable tax rates and a strong business sector, the NDP is not the party for you.
Take it from me; I'm one of the 252,677 people who have left Manitoba since the NDP took over (Source: Statistics Can).
My wife and I grew so frustrated with high taxes charged by Manitoba's NDP government, and the negative impact they have on private sector job opportunities, we decided to pack up and move to Calgary earlier this year.
Moving wasn't an easy decision. It meant saying goodbye to family and friends, as well as favourite pizza restaurants, ice cream parlors and the other great things Manitoba has to offer.
But we knew that as long as the NDP were in power, Manitoba would be held back by an ideology that believes in higher taxes, favouritism towards government employee unions and a carefree attitude towards government debt. After watching the Alberta election debate, it's clear Alberta's NDP is no different.
Consider that in Manitoba, taxpayers went from paying reasonable income tax rates to some of the highest taxes in all of Canada after the NDP took over. The NDP not only raised the sales tax from 7 to 8 per cent, they started charging it on necessities like home insurance.
Alberta's NDP aren't even in power yet and want significant personal income tax increases and a 20 per cent hike to business taxes. Imagine what they've haven't told us.
Alberta's NDP seem blind to the fact Alberta's economy is very fragile right now - especially the oil and gas sector. If you were a big oil company or manufacturer, would you invest a half billion dollars in an economy that is considering a 20 per cent tax hike?
After getting elected in Manitoba, the NDP surprised the business community by tilting labour laws in favour of union bosses. For example, instead of letting people privately vote on whether or not they would like to join a union, the NDP changed the rules so that union bosses merely have to sign people up. The NDP government has also forced non-unionized employees to pay union dues while working on big government projects.
Alberta's NDP has expressed support for radical union ideas in the past. What surprises do they have in store for Alberta's business community and non-unionized workers?
In Alberta, the cost of government employee salaries and benefits is off the charts right now. On average, Alberta bureaucrats are the highest paid in the country. While Jim Prentice is at least willing to freeze salaries for a short period, Alberta's NDP seems to want to ignore the problem, preferring tax increases instead.
The move isn't surprising given NDP leader Rachel Notley put on a striker placard and walked the picket line with striking government employees back in 2013. How could she represent the general public while her party is so heavily backed by government employee unions?
Make no mistake, Alberta's government could improve in many ways. But electing a radical NDP government is not the answer. If you don't believe what I've said, try asking one of the thousands of other former Manitobans who moved after the NDP took over.
Colin Craig is a new Calgarian and works for the Manning Centre
This column was published by the Calgary Sun on April 29, 2015