The United Conservative Party strongly criticized Rachel Notley's economic policies when she was in government, such as tax hikes and increasing debt.
For the chief economist of Alberta Central Financial, Charles St-Arnaud, the question is however far from being resolved. He recalls that the New Democratic Party of Alberta came to power in the midst of a collapse in oil prices.
LoadingCOVID-19 in CHSLD: the Superior Court authorizes a collective action
COVID-19 in CHSLDs: the Superior Court authorizes a collective action
ELSE ON INFO: COVID-19 in CHSLDs: the Superior Court authorizes class action
Between 2015 and 2016, revenues from non-renewable resources fell by nearly 70%.
It's very difficult to give an economic assessment when the underlying currents were negative.
A quote from Charles St-Arnaud, chief economist at Alberta Central
During her announcement, Rachel Notley also winked at the critics. Seriously, folks, I wasn't the cause [of the global oil price collapse], she said.
According to the economist, what can be debated is the level of spending at the time.
We had an acceleration in spending in the first half of the mandate. We can therefore ask ourselves the question if perhaps we made too much spending which generated a larger deficit than was necessary. But the other point of view that can be taken is that there is a stabilizing role for the government, therefore helping the economy in recession by making tax expenditures, he emphasizes.
< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_700/v1/ici-premiere/16x9/petrole-environnement-energies-fossiles-subventions-bloc-quebecois.jpg" media="(min- width: 0px) and (max-width: 1023px)">Open in full screen mode
According to economist Charles St-Arnaud, the New Democratic government not only had to deal with a drop in oil prices, but with also a profound transformation of the sector which no longer invests as much in growth.
In addition, this fiscal record could have less weight in the next electoral campaigns than it had in 2019 and 2023, according to political science professor at the University of Alberta Frédéric Boily.
Although the United Conservatives have enjoyed comfortable surpluses over the past two years, Finance Minister Nate Horner admitted that it will be difficult in 2024.
Perhaps there, the United Conservatives will also have to find new sources of income because oil prices are not so strong, notes Mr. Boily .
If there is one economic aspect that the pretenders to the throne have an interest in keeping from Rachel Notley, according to the political scientist, it is energy policy.< /p>
By supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and supporting the oil industry several times, Frédéric Boily believes that the New Democrat has definitely imbued his mark on the party.
From outside Alberta, it might seem incongruous, but in the Alberta context, if we want to have a New Democratic party that governs, we don't has no choice in making certain adaptations. That was the adaptation to make, he believes.
We could have a candidate tempted to move towards a more radical approach on the environmental level, but I don't think that is currently possible in Alberta.
A quote from Frédéric Boily, political scientist
Open in full screen mode
In November 2015, Rachel Notley, then premier of Alberta, presented her carbon tax in the presence of oil company executives.
University of Calgary political scientist Lisa Young agrees: She showed there was room for policies that recognized climate change while supporting the fossil fuel industry. It paves the way for his successor.
Recall that Rachel Notley presented her climate plan, including the implementation of a carbon tax, in the presence of leaders of the largest oil companies in Alberta.
Frédéric Boily adds the policy of converting power plants from coal to natural gas and support for renewable energies to the list of legacies to keep by Rachel Notley.
Even if the operation of Alberta's electricity network is the subject of much debate, the political scientist notes that these NDP policies have made the task of the current government easier.
If this process had not been launched, one could imagine all the difficulties that the United Conservatives would have today in trying to upgrade Alberta's environmental record, underlines Frédéric Boily.