|Date Published||February 28, 2017|
|Company||Engel & Völkers|
|Article Author||Jeff Tincher|
|Article Type||February 2017 Issue|
|Tags||Brad Wall, Carbon Tax, E&P, Oil & Gas: Government, Real Estate, S&S|
Well, here we are in the first quarter of 2017 already, and reality is starting to sink in. While South of the border many Americans continue to oppose the threat of a possible wall separating Mexico and the U.S., here in Canada many are choosing to embrace a particular wall. Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, to be precise.
You see, Premier Wall is a key supporter in the opposition’s battle against the controversial carbon tax, which is now being fostered and enforced by the federal government. Premier Wall and the Saskatchewan government, its people and its workers, say they do not welcome any carbon tax. They will not endorse it anytime soon as they feel it is redundant for a province and a nation whose carbon footprint is minuscule when compared with other major nations.
Meanwhile, in many other provinces, we’re suddenly being taxed on emissions from a natural resource that has literally helped Canada prosper economically and provided more national and provincial stability as a whole through the distribution of equalization payments directly resulting from the energy industry itself. At a time when the metaphorical ‘energy roof’ has caved in on most of Western Canada, we’re now left wondering why our infrastructure support has been torn out from around us.
In real estate, it’s more commonly known as a ‘load-bearing’ wall. Mess with it or take it out and you compromise the entire structure. The roof cannot remain supported without the load-bearing wall (or walls) nor can the strength of the whole continue without support of the load-bearing wall. You see what I’m getting at, right?
Some have had to close their
doors while others from out of
province have decided to avoid
expanding into Alberta.
In the political realm, it seems many of our elected federal and provincial governments have chosen to undermine (read: compromise) our economic progress by supporting carbon tax reforms and rejecting Premier Wall. And then, if my analogy is correct, many Canadians would argue rejecting Premier Wall’s opposition to the carbon tax is akin to jeopardizing our economic infrastructure as a whole.
In Alberta, we’ve already seen some net migration out of the province. Residents here, fed up with our government’s unwillingness to oppose the carbon tax, have decided British Columbia and Saskatchewan are more viable options. They are moving to places where energy resources won’t be so heavily taxed it threatens their prosperity and well-being.
On the residential real estate side, it doesn’t seem to have directly affected sales in Calgary or Edmonton just yet. But, rest assured, we’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens in the next three quarters of this year. As mortgage rules and guidelines have changed lately, families are now forced to tighten their financial belts, yet again, thanks to a new tax, and they are feeling the pinch in their property budgets. The affordability index in Alberta now continues to widen its gap as overall home prices here remain fairly high while income levels and further tax increases continue to lighten peoples’ pocket books.
On the commercial side, it has definitely influenced how and where businesses are continuing to operate. Many have continued to restructure as a result of the carbon tax. Some have had to close their doors while others from out of province have decided to avoid expanding into Alberta. Instead, they’re choosing to side with Premier Wall (aka the other side of the wall) and focus more on doing business with and within Saskatchewan.
For many Albertans, it’s yet another kick in the teeth or more salt in the wound at a time when morale is low, job losses are high, and business isn’t allowed to be quite what it used to. And, instead of having a wall designed to protect us (like the Wall they have in Saskatchewan), it’s a wall that’s been purposely ignored or taken out altogether leaving the sky to fall in all around. Our wall leaves limited protection from the elements and a home with much less security in the short term.
“When I was a graduate I remember so many of the people I knew — my roommate,
one of my best friends — were simply going to be checking out job opportunities in Alberta. They just felt there was no choice, there wasn’t even an option.”
As an aside, it is rather interesting (perhaps even ironic) how our nation currently has a metaphorical wall whose aim is to specifically protect and promote our energy and economic prosperity with Canada and the world. Erstwhile, down South, it would be a wall specifically designed to shut much of the world out.