Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has indicated that his United Conservative government will reveal details next week on additional support to help people cope with high inflation.
Earlier this week, when Finance Minister Jason Nixon announced a $3.9 billion surplus at the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year ending March 31, Nixon said one of the goals was to look at other ways to help Albertans get through the current period of rising prices.
The province already cut its share of the gas tax earlier this spring and $150 in electricity rebates will soon be paid out to cushion the impact of inflation.
On Saturday, while answering a question about inflation posed to him by a caller on his provincial telephone radio show on CHQR and CHED, Kenney said there would be an announcement about additional support, which, according to him, would come this week.
He did not elaborate on what the measures might be, and a spokesperson did not immediately respond when emailed for further details.
Kenney told his radio audience that there are several explanations for high inflation, including federal monetary policy and large federal deficits, as well as energy shortages related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. .
“Anyone who says there’s only one explanation is just lying,” Kenney said.
“I think most experts are hoping, or forecasting, that it will start happening next year, but we’re probably a few more months away from high inflation.”
Kenney said he agreed with federal Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre’s assertion that the Bank of Canada was fueling inflation by, as Kenney put it, “printing tens and tens of billions of dollars of new fiat money”.
Poilievre threatened to fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem if elected prime minister.
Alberta’s oil and natural gas industries have soared in recent months as global economies picked up speed while pandemic measures eased and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted supply global energy.
Nixon said another windfall plan is to build the province’s $18.7 billion savings nest egg – the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
Shannon Phillips, finance critic for the opposition NDP, said after the windfall was announced that the government was not delivering on promised funding for a range of public services, from education to ambulance response .
Kenney said on Saturday the surplus would not have happened if his government had not “exercised spending restraint”.
“One of the problems with modern Alberta is that when we have an oil boom, we track our spending and we spend what comes in. And then when our income drops, taxpayers end up in debt,” he said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 2, 2022.