Parkland Institute

Parkland blog

Welcome the Parkland Institute's blog. Here, we feature writers and researchers associated with the Parkland Institute writing about topics of interest to Albertans.

February 09, 2015

Instead of austerity, Alberta needs wage-led economic growth

posted by Ian Hussey

In response to the latest Alberta revenue crisis, Premier Jim Prentice has increasingly been beating the austerity drum. But is an austerity agenda the best way for the province to deal with the current fiscal crunch?

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Tagged with: austerity, corporations, flat tax, jobs, taxes
January 29, 2015

A modest proposal: Alberta needs income and corporate tax reform

posted by Barret Weber

It has now been a couple of weeks since Alberta Premier Jim Prentice floated the idea of a provincial sales tax in a speech to the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) luncheon (a trial balloon which Albertans soon overwhelmingly deflated, according to a somewhat-questionable poll on the issue).

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Tagged with: corporations, flat tax, taxes
October 15, 2012

Canada should follow Lesotho‚Äôs good example

posted by Shannon Stunden Bower

The right to an abortion? This should not be an issue at all. But recently, some members of Canada’s Conservative government, with the support of like-minded Liberals, sought to pry open a debate that most Canadians are only too glad to have closed.

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Tagged with: equality, gender gap, Motion 312, women
October 15, 2012

Columnist wants to have his cake and eat it too

posted by David Campanella

In his recent column in the Calgary Herald, “Don’t grumble about lower corporate tax rates,” Rob Breakenridge would like to have his cake and eat it too – corporate tax cuts and higher revenues. Conservatives love promoting corporate tax cuts because it enriches their corporate friends and ultimately means less money to support a generous welfare state.

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Tagged with: corporations, flat tax, taxes
July 17, 2012

Is liquor store privatization worth toasting?

posted by David Campanella

This letter to the editor was submitted to the Calgary Herald on July 17, 2012.


One wonders if Mark Milke was still suffering the after-effects of a Stampede-filled weekend when he wrote his terribly one-sided review of Premier Klein's ad-hoc and short-sighted decision to sell-off Alberta's liquor stores, a decision which continues to be a major headache for Albertans.


Incredibly, Milke denies privatization has meant lost revenue. This assertion ignores the fact that today Alberta earns nearly 25% less revenue per litre of alcohol sold than prior to privatization. In fact, Albertans would have enjoyed the benefit of an extra $1.3 billion if government revenue from liquor sales had continued to be generated at pre-privatization levels.

This revenue loss is largely due to the gradual erosion of  Alberta's real, inflation-adjusted liquor tax rate. So lower taxes means cheaper booze, right? Wrong. Despite Milke's claim to the contrary, recent research indicates that Albertans pay among the highest liquor prices in the West – prices higher than those on offer in the publicly-owned stores of BC and Saskatchewan.

Alcohol consumption is inextricably linked to health and crime-related problems, primarily involving the occasional heavy-drinker. As a result, rational liquor policy promotes limits on consumption and  generates sufficient revenue to address alcohol's consequences. Privatization has meant the opposite in Alberta: higher consumption and diminished public revenue. Is this really worth toasting?

In reality, the real kudos belong to Saskatchewan, where the (primarily) public liquor stores earned the province an extra $9.4 million last year despite selling 135,000 less litres of pure alcohol. More revenue from less consumption? That's a feat worth celebrating.

David Campanella,
Public Policy Research Manager at the Parkland Institute

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Tagged with: liquor stores, privatization

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