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Is AB business investment up under the UCP?

Recently, someone claimed in a Twitter conversation that investments have increased in Alberta under the UCP compared to what we saw under the NDP.

This is a claim I’ve seen multiple times online. Take a look at these search results on Twitter, for example.

Anyhow, since this topic comes up regularly, I thought I’d take a look at the data to see what things look like now and wha t they looked like under the NDP.

Luckily, Statistics Canada tracks capital expenditures for each province, so I took a look at the numbers for Alberta over the last decade.

First, let’s just start with the last 7 years.

What we see here is that not once during the first 3 years of the UCP’s first administration did Alberta see capital expenditures higher than they were under the NDP.

Investment spending reached a high of $56.86 billion under the UCP between January 2021 and January 2022. However, the lowest that investment spending got under the NDP was $59.44 billion during their final year in office.

In other words, the NDP’s worst year was still more than $2.5 billion more than the UCP’s best year.

Throughout their entire term, the NDP saw Alberta bring in a total of $242.82 billion in capital expenditures. During their first 3 years, the UCP saw $159.41 billion.

Even if we look at just the NDP’s first 3 years, Alberta still saw more investment than what we saw between 2019 and 2022: $183.38 billion compared to $159.41 billion.

Alberta will need to see around $84 billion in capital expenditures this year to surpass total expenditures under the NDP. And while that may be p0ssible, that would have to be about $28 billion more than what we saw last year.

And remember, we haven’t broken $60 billion even once over the last 3 years.

Now, all that being said, the NDP aren’t innocent in all this. Check out the numbers when we go back a full decade, comparing capital expenditures to before the NDP took power.

So while capital expenditures under the NDP were higher than they have been under the UCP so far, they were drastically lower than during the last 4 years of the PC dynasty.

Between 2014 and the NDP’s first year in power, capital expenditures declined from $97.80 billion to $60.83 billion, a drop of nearly $40 billion.

Now, to be fair, expenditures had already dropped by $20 billion between January 2014 and January 2015, before the NDP had even won the 2015 provincial election, so their loss may have been the continuation of a downward trend.

Either way, it’s clear that capital investment has not increased under the UCP, not compared to what occurred under the NDP and most certainly not compared to what occurred under the end of the PC reign.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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