Notes from the Legislature

Pat Rehn,
Lesser Slave Lake

I hope the month of May thus far has been an exciting, happy and productive one for everyone in Lesser Slave Lake. Very soon will be the onset of summer and no doubt everyone in our constituency is eagerly anticipating such a moment.
The legislature has continued its business of rigorous debate and discussion over the future direction of our province. Our government continues pursuing its goal of refining Alberta to be the highest performing province in Canada and, by several metrics, we are making astounding progress.
It’s difficult to read the news in Canada these days without frequently being reminded of the skyrocketing costs of homes. Indeed, confidence for many young Canadians in aspiring toward home ownership as a reasonable goal has been shaken by the remarkable rise in prices over the last half decade. This is not helped by the circumstance of our federal government seemingly ignoring this dilemma if not deliberately exacerbating it with its policies in respect to inflation and failing to quicken more home construction.
In fact, since Justin Trudeau first assumed the office of prime minister in late 2015, the average value of a Canadian home has shot up 70 per cent. Just during the breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has gone up 30 per cent as reported in November of last year.
The silver lining to these clouds is Alberta has largely been able to buck these trends, whereas in Ontario over the last five years the average mortgage payment as a share of pre-tax household income has gone from 27 per cent in 2015 to 54 per cent in Alberta.
The story is remarkably different when the same share of income on mortgages for housing here has remained in the low 20 per cent range. This tells all the story one needs to know. Alberta remains a premier destination for an affordable and prosperous life in spite of trends elsewhere in the country driving headfirst into unaffordability.
Another hallmark of the Alberta advantage continues to hold up and that is our record as the lowest gas prices in Canada. Recent events and poor leadership federally have slingshot the price of gas on a huge upward trajectory across Canada. Our government decided to act quickly to prevent a further hemorrhage of Albertan finances in light of these increases. By suspending the provincial gas levy at the pumps, Albertans saw a definitive 13 cent reduction in the cost of their fuel.
At $161.0 per C/L the day before I wrote this, Alberta has a country mile distance between the prices we pay at the pumps and the rest of Canada. Whereas prices in Ontario hit $195.7 per C/L and British Columbia hit a shocking $206.5 our measure of suspending the gas tax during this circumstance helped Albertans where it matters most.
I am hopeful the federal government will end their relentless push to thin Canadian wallets and adopt common sense policies that genuinely help the people of this fine country.
As always, my office is ready to help as needed.

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