Calgary

No sales tax before 2019, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley 'unequivocally' asserts

Premier Rachel Notley and Finance Minister Joe Ceci have mused publicly about the idea of a sales tax in recent days but Notley said Tuesday there will be no PST or HST in Alberta between now and the next election.

Any recent discussion about the topic was theoretical and long-term, premier clarifies

Premier Rachel Notley says she campaigned on having no sales tax in Alberta and she won't introduce one this term, but it's reasonable to have a 'conversation' about all sorts of long-term ideas that could happen beyond the 2019 provincial election. (CP file photo)

Premier Rachel Notley and Finance Minister Joe Ceci have mused publicly about the idea of a sales tax in recent days but Notley said Tuesday there will be no PST or HST in Alberta between now and the next election.

"Between now and 2019, there will be no change, because that is the commitment I made," Notley told reporters at a press conference in Red Deer on Tuesday.

"That continues to be my position and it has been my position unequivocally."

Notley and Ceci discussed the topic of a sales tax during a post-budget CBC interview last week, but only in terms of the "long run" as one possible method to address persistently reduced resource revenue from oil and natural gas.

"In the long-term, is this a conversation we need to have?" Notley said during that interview. "I think it is. But not right now." 

Notley and Ceci talk taxes on Edmonton AM

6 years ago
Duration 2:35
Premier Rachel Notley and finance minister Joe Ceci defended their budget during a call-in interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

Then, at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce event on Monday, numerous members of the city's business community wanted to know what Ceci thought of the potential for a sales tax to close the major gap between the government's revenues and expenses.

He too, said it wasn't something on the current agenda but left the door open for conversation.

"If Albertans have a different view, generally, on where we should be going for revenue, then let's hear it," Ceci said. "But we're doing what we said we would do."

Finance Minister Joe Ceci takes questions after addressing the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Monday. (CBC)

Notley clarified Tuesday that Ceci was talking long-term, as well.

"What the minister was saying is that it would be irresponsible for us not to talk about the different revenue measures that are at our disposal in order to deal with the fiscal challenges we face as a government, particularly given that oil price recovery will probably happen but not to the same level we were used to," she said.

"In the long term, ten years out, I think it's always important for Albertans to have a conversation about our overall fiscal framework."

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