LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – A former Alberta finance minister says it’s time to talk about a provincial sales tax.
Ron Liepert says having a PST could help level out the peaks and valleys in Alberta’s revenue, which he says is tied too closely to oil prices.
Speaking in Lethbridge, Liepert said he believes Albertans want to talk about the options.
Liepert also suggested it’s odd to suggest Albertans don’t pay a sales tax because the federal GST has been around for more than 20 years.
Liepert was a Calgary MLA from 2004 to 2012 and was a cabinet minister in several portfolios besides finance, including education, health and energy.
He didn’t run in the last election, but said during his last few years in office, he heard young families willing to discuss the possibility of a PST.
“My constituents were a lot of young families,” Liepert said. “Their issues were things like, ‘We want schools so our kids can go to school in our neighbourhood, and we’re prepared to engage in that discussion about how do you pay for that.’
“And I think the time is right to have that discussion.”
He also suggested the government should look at what Ottawa is doing and consider something similar.
“I believe that if the federal government is going to collect five per cent (GST), we should be engaging in a discussion about what is appropriate for the province.”