Kenney suggests inflation support details could come next week

Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney has indicated his United Conservative government will release details next week of additional support to help people cope with high inflation.

As Treasury Secretary Jason Nixon announced earlier this week a surplus of $3.9 billion at the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2021.

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The province already reduced its share of the gas tax earlier this spring, and soon $150 in electricity rebates will flow to cushion the impact of inflation.

On Saturday, Kenney responded to a question about inflation from a caller on his nationwide phone radio show on CHQR and CHED and said there would be an announcement of more support, which he believed was coming this week .

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He did not elaborate on what the measures might be, and a spokesman did not immediately respond when emailed asking for details.

Kenney told his radio audience that there are multiple explanations for the high inflation, including federal monetary policy and large government deficits, as well as energy shortages related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“Anyone who says there’s only one simple explanation is lying,” Kenney said.

“I think most pundits are hoping or expecting that to be the case next year, but we probably have a few more months of high inflation ahead of us.”

Kenney said he agrees with Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre’s claim that the Bank of Canada is fueling inflation by, as Kenney put it, “printing tens of billions of dollars in new fiat currency.”

Poilievre has threatened to fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem if she is elected prime minister.

Alberta’s bread-and-butter oil and natural gas industry has skyrocketed in recent months as the global economy ramped up while pandemic measures eased and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted global energy supplies.

Nixon said another windfall plan is to build the province’s $18.7 billion nest egg — the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

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Shannon Phillips, financial critic for the opposition NDP, said after the windfall was announced the government is not delivering on promised funding for a range of public services, from education to ambulance deployment.

Kenney said Saturday the surplus would not have materialized had his administration not “exercised restraint on spending.”

“One of the problems in modern Alberta is when we get an oil boom, we track our spending and we spend what comes in. And when our revenues fall, taxpayers are left with debt,” he said.

© 2022 The Canadian Press Kenney suggests inflation support details could come next week


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