by Morinville News Staff
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and the NDP says the United Conservative Party should pay Wage Subsidy funds back the federal government, given 18 of the country’s provincial parties have turned the money down.
The federal wage subsidy pays employers 75% of an employee’s wage up to a maximum $847 per week. That subsidy requires that the business’ revenue has dropped 30% from the previous year.
“The United Conservative Party ran on being the party that would look out for taxpayers, but now the UCP is helping itself to tax dollars meant to support struggling Albertans,” said CTF Alberta Director Franco Terrazzano. “Premiers John Horgan, Scott Moe, Brian Pallister, Doug Ford and François Legault all know that taking the wage subsidy is wrong and it’s time for Premier Jason Kenney to pay back the subsidy.”
CTF says they’ve confirmed 18 provincial parties, including Alberta’s NDP, that have not applied for the wage subsidy. Only the B.C Liberal Party and B.C. Green Party, have confirmed applying for the federal wage subsidy to CTF.
The tax watchdog organization’s concern with provincial parties taking the Wage Subsidy is because political parties already receive special taxpayer treatment. Alberta’s political parties can provide tax credits for up to 75 per cent of the cost of donations, a rate higher than the province’s charities can offer.
CTF cites an Elections Alberta Report that shows political tax credits cost taxpayers more than $14 million between 2013 and 2017.
“The federal wage subsidy is supposed to be helping struggling families and businesses, not paying for political attacks ads,” said Terrazzano. “It’s time for the UCP and Premier Kenney to pay that money back.”
NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it is “more than a little rich” for UCP Leader Jason Kenney to apply for federal relief to avoid laying off his own party staff while at the same time laying off tens of thousands of public-sector workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself,” Notley said. “The UCP government continues to refuse to fund paid sick leave, offer financial support to Alberta’s small businesses and relief to everyday Albertans.
Notley claims the UCP are exploiting a loophole in order to qualify for the program, which requires a drop of at least 15 per cent of their qualifying revenue in March and 30 per cent for the months of April and May, when compared to their qualifying revenue for the same period in 2019.
“Last April we had an election in Alberta, a time when political parties exceed normal fundraising totals and record numbers of voters donate,” said Alberta NDP Provincial Secretary Brandon Stevens. “It is disingenuous, and frankly dishonest for the UCP to use the months of April and May of 2019 as rationale for applying for the wage subsidy now.”