Alberta has released its COVID-19 economic recovery plan and Premier Jason Kenney seems very optimistic, particularly about the jobs it will lure through the corporate tax cuts. The plan has, however, already been met with widespread criticism, including from conservative commentator, Charles Adler.

The plan cuts the corporate income tax rate to 8% in the coming years, after Kenney already reduced it from 12% to 10% when he took office in 2019. Alberta already has one of the lowest tax structures in the country, with no sales tax. His plan apparently is to lure banks and big companies away from Toronto’s Bay Street. Travis Toews, President of Alberta’s Treasury Board and the provincial Minister of Finance, has called it “The Job Creation Tax Cut.”

Cutting corporate taxes, though, is not an elixir to all economic woes, and Adler, host of Charles Adler Tonight, was quick to point out Kenney’s failure to present a plan to diversify Alberta’s economy. Adler said that he was “insulting the intelligence of #Albertans again” by telling them that a corporate tax cut will create jobs even though it didn’t when Kenney cut the rate by 2% when he took office.

Kenney’s plan relies on trickle down economics, an ideology that claims that when the rich get richer, everyone benefits. Unfortunately, the facts and recent history show this doesn’t happen. Individual Canadians pay $3.50 in income taxes for every dollar corporations pay. Over the past 20 years, corporate taxes have steadily been slashed, while profits have increased, particularly for a concentrated group of wealthy people. According to the Corporate Income Tax Freedom Day report, “the economy has declined almost in lock-step with lower corporate tax rates, instead of increasing, as it was supposed to”.

Albertans, and Canadians at large, were eagerly awaiting the recovery plan to see how it will rebuild the province, which is suffering the deepest economic dip in the country primarily due to the oil crash caused by the pandemic. But the anticipation over the plan was also high because there is an immediate need to move past Alberta’s dependence on the oil and gas sector, and diversify the economy. By using regressive tactics of corporate tax cuts that don’t help the average worker, and only inflate profits for already established companies and CEOs, Kenney has not emerged as the leader Alberta needs now to “overcome the greatest economic challenge of our time”.