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'All options on the table': Premier Kenney addresses fears of oil prices and coronavirus

Last Updated Mar 10, 2020 at 7:28 am MDT

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a press conference in Edmonton on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The global collapse of oil is forcing the provincial government to consider “all options.”

Speaking in downtown Calgary Monday, Premier Jason Kenney called the current situation “uncharted territory” and is urging the federal government to help with the downturn and says he plans to present his own ideas to the Prime Minister later this week.

One option the premier presented was an acceleration of infrastructure spending to help ease the current recession the province is going through.

Kenney says he is also not considering the introduction of a provincial sales tax: “I cannot imagine a dumber thing to do in the midst of a time of economic fragility, an oil price collapse and a global recession than to add a multi-billion dollar tax.”

He adds it’s time for Ottawa to start considering how many people across the country are affected when the price of oil drops: “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians depend on the energy sector directly for their livelihoods and all 36 million Canadians benefit from it at least indirectly.”

An economic advisory committee will also be created to look for further ideas to get out of the fiscal downturn it’s facing.

Opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling for more action on Kenney’s part with the drop in oil prices compounded with growing fears of COVID-19.

She’s calling on Kenney to do a complete re-draft of the 2020 budget to provide funding and support for doctors and nurses.

“I’m concerned about the stress being put on by our front-line health care as we respond to this global health emergency.”

Notley also said measures such as the UCP commitment to keep the corporate tax cut are irresonsible and that further measures of diversification need to be looked at.