by Morinville News Staff
On the eve of their party’s leadership vote, UCP interim leader Nathan Cooper was joined by Matt Jeneroux, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Riverbend and co-chair of the Alberta Jobs Taskforce and representatives from Restaurants Canada in Edmonton Friday for a press conference. Cooper’s conference was to highlight how Alberta’s restaurant industry is negatively impacted by federal and provincial policies he says are increasing costs for local businesses.
Citing Restaurants Canada statistics, Cooper said the restaurant industry accounts for nearly 4 per cent of the province’s GDP and provides Albertans with 148,700 jobs plus 34,200 indirect jobs. As such, the restaurant industry is Alberta’s fourth-largest employer. Additionally, the restaurant industry is also the number one source of first-time jobs.
The UCP is critical of what they call never-ending federal and provincial policies that are causing local business owners to reduce employment and increase prices to keep their doors open.
“The Liberals’ current tax proposals are just the latest addition in a long line of policy changes that are driving up the costs of operating a local business. These changes, including implementing a federal carbon tax, hiking payroll taxes, attacking employee benefits and altering existing tax structures, will force business owners to make difficult decisions in order to stay afloat,” said MP Jeneroux. “For Canadians, that means fewer jobs and higher prices at local restaurants and shops. Enough is enough. Justin Trudeau cannot keep raising taxes on hardworking Canadians to pay for his out-of-control spending.”
Cooper said hardworking Albertans have no problem paying their fair share. “The heavy burden placed on them by these policies is threatening their ability to remain viable in what is already an extremely challenging business environment,” Cooper said.
Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President, Western Canada, of Restaurants Canada said over the past two years, his organization has heard from many frustrated members warning that they will not be able to survive” the perfect storm of declining sales and the absorption of significant government-imposed cost increases.
“Adding these mandated cost increases in a declining sales environment has resulted in numerous restaurant closures, less work for the thousands of Albertans we employ, and less tax revenue for government,” he said. “We are calling on governments at all levels to stop piling on extra costs on small businesses.”