Commentary – Will we have plenty in 2020?

Richard Froese

Here it is, the start of a new year, a new decade.

Will we have plenty in 2020?

One thing is certain. The price of fuel went up, thanks to the new federal carbon tax imposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government that kicked in Jan. 1.

Alberta got some reprieve after Premier Jason Kenney axed the provincial carbon tax May 30 shortly after the new United Conservative Party won the election April 16.

Prices of other products and services are also expected to increase as the tax impacts transportation and energy to produce power and heat for buildings.

Albertans know what happened after the former NDP government implemented the tax in 2017. Many small, local businesses raised prices, laid off workers, or both.

Governments at all levels need to work together more to revive the economy and sustain businesses and communities.

Get active as citizens to help governments make decisions that are best for everyone, to provide adequate services and stretch the dollar.

Don’t sit back and criticize and complain. Share your ideas with your local government, MLA, MP, the premier and prime minister.

What’s your vision for 2020?

How will Trudeau deal with Alberta and Saskatchewan where no Liberal MPs were elected in the federal election Oct. 21?

Ruling a minority government, Trudeau will have to be more receptive and better respond to needs and concerns of citizens in those two provinces.

The Conservative party prepares to elect a new leader to succeed Andrew Scheer, who announced Dec. 12 that he will resign after his successor is chosen.

Could the new leader be Rona Ambrose, former MP, born and raised in Valleyview? Ambrose was highly respected as interim Conservative leader from 2015-17.

Another female MP with Alberta Peace roots is in a key role. Born and raised in Peace River, Chrystia Freeland is minister of governmental affairs dealing with provinces and deputy prime minister.

Both women have a clear understanding of the values and culture of Alberta, the Prairies and northern regions.

Conservatives want a new leader ready to drive the party to win an election, unite the nation and bring back the West.

Alberta voters painted the province predominantly Conservative blue in last year’s federal and provincial elections.

However, the Alberta government also struggles with a sluggish economy and a debt carried from the former NDP government. The first UCP budget in October may be a warning of things to come in the spring budget.

Let’s hope the government doesn’t sharpen the axe too much.

Municipalities and school divisions tighten their belts as the government cuts back on funding to help balance the budget.

People and communities in Alberta are still hurting from the downturn in the economy that has been deepened by the gas and oil industry that has suffered since 2014.

Many local rural municipalities face massive funding shortfalls after countless oil companies are unable to pay property taxes or have closed shop.

Cuts may also affect non-profit organizations that may have to evaluate their mandate and futures or merge with another group with a similar purpose.

Shop at home and help sustain your community. When you support local businesses, you support local residents, your neighbours.

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