If it’s possible to ‘settle in’ to a crisis Canadians seem to be doing it, often while wearing sweatpants. That’s not to say that we’re relaxed. It’s hard to get comfortable while waiting for a wave of dangerous COVID-19 to sweep through your community followed by another wave of economic destruction and unemployment. We’re all on edge, but we’re also falling into our routines. Every night we watch the news to see if the government has found the path back to our bright future. The challenge is especially great in Alberta where we must endure a third punishing wave, plunging oil prices.
Premier Kenney took up that issue today in a press conference, mentioning that discussions with Ottawa over support for the oil and gas sector are ongoing. As of this writing there was optimism among some politicos that the federal government would announce support for oil and gas on Wednesday, and Alberta would announce their package on Thursday. Help must come soon or it will be too late. The entire sector is teetering.
The Premier also made it clear that he favoured a federal stimulus package bordering on huge, saying that Alberta was also willing to add more to the pot, but not until the virus was behind us. From a government relations perspective, this is intriguing.
Organizations often spend years in regular times trying to pry a nickel out of government, with no success. What a difference a month makes. If Premier Kenney got his way and Canadian stimulus was in line with the proposed US and the UK stimulus packages, it would be north of $150 billion. So far, the PM has pledged a very modest $27 billion. He is also allowing a 90 days grace period on roughly $55 billion in tax owing, but it’s questionable whether that should count as stimulus since taxpayers still have to set the money aside.