This week I want to highlight a persistent flaw of the UPC government. They keep passing the buck. We saw this on full display in September when their “not a vaccine passport” vaccine passport, euphemistically called a Restrictions Exemptions Program, put undue responsibility on businesses to monitor patrons for COVID. Businesses that were already struggling and didn’t have the government’s resources, but the government put the burden on them anyway.
Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident. On issues like infrastructure, homelessness, and the costs of legalized cannabis, the UCP continues kicking the responsibility down to municipal governments while giving them fewer funds to tackle these problems.
The latest example of this has come in the form of Bill 77. This legislation is supposed to help municipalities collect outstanding tax revenue from oil and gas companies. Currently, the companies owe $245 million in unpaid taxes to counties and towns across Alberta. While this legislation will help municipalities better collect these taxes, more could be done if the UCP were willing to leverage the Alberta Energy Regulator’s control over licences and operations. Instead, they’re doing the bare minimum and forcing municipalities to take on these companies by themselves.
Our healthcare system isn’t faring much better under the UCP’s buck-passing. Reports show more and more Albertans are turning to private healthcare alternatives in the face of surgery cancellations. While COVID-19 is the primary driver of this issue, we can’t forget how much worse the situation is because the UCP mismanaged the pandemic response. The UCP messed things up with Jason Kenney’s “best summer ever”, and now Albertans are paying out of pocket for it – if they are lucky enough to have the ability to pay for it. As well, those Albertans who can’t afford private healthcare are left to suffer because of failed UCP policies.
We all know actions matter more than words. The UCP love to talk about personal responsibility, but they never accept it themselves. They want the power and the control, but when a problem arises that requires action, they pass the buck whenever and wherever they can. They pass the burden on to businesses, municipalities and even everyday Albertans, like you and me.
This isn’t what real leaders do. Leaders take on challenging problems themselves. Not because they want power but because they want to help people. They show responsibility and take ownership. That’s what the Alberta Liberal Party has consistently pledged to do for Albertans. We value fiscal, social, and environmental responsibility. We believe public office means stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done. The buck needs to stop with the people at the top.