Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann says he is encouraged by early signals from the Minister of Finance that the October 27 budget will contain stimulus measures but adds that such measures must be comprehensive and multi-pronged.
“I am pleased that the Minister seems to be heeding the Alberta Liberals’ calls for infrastructure spending to help stimulate the economy,” says Swann. “Of course, we want to see that infrastructure spending be prioritized based on need – not political considerations – and include repairing existing infrastructure as well as new projects. We also hope to see it spent on variety of needs including public transit and affordable housing.”
Swann added Alberta Liberals support the use of debt to finance infrastructure spending but said Budget 2015 must contain a long term debt repayment plan in order to be responsible.
October 7th, 2015 Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released his recommendations to the government on strengthening payday loan regulations in Alberta.
“Alberta’s current payday loan fee cap of $23 per $100 borrowed … translates into an annualized interest rate of 600 per cent,” wrote Swann.
Swann’s letter to Service Alberta Minister Deron Bilous recommends establishing an annual interest rate cap of 35 per cent, noting this will discourage payday loan operators. Swann expressed his support for a pilot project between First Calgary Financial and Momentum Community Economic Development, which is offering a 12 per cent annualized interest rate short term loan to borrowers and suggests that the government consider getting ATB Financial to fill the resulting void in short term lending opportunities.
Failing this approach Swann recommends tougher restrictions on fees and interest rates.
Swann also recommended a centralized payday loan tracking system that could allow more tailored services to borrowers, requiring lenders to post fees and annualized interest rates, and allowing borrowers to pay back loans in installments.
“Whatever measures the Alberta government chooses, we must remember that it is our responsibility as legislators to protect and help our most vulnerable populations,” concluded Swann.