With her party boosting they will end equalization payments to Ottawa, and have a separation referendum voted on and processed within the first 4 months, Tessa Szwagierczak, MLA candidate with the Alberta Independence Party in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding, is attempting to make a splash on the provincial political spectrum.
A registered accountant and owner of her own financial advisory office in Lacombe, Szwagierczak’s strong background in finance will help with her parties goals of restructuring both the personal and corporate tax rates, in order to put more money into the pockets of the individual as well as business, and to create a more stable economic environment.
What policies are you looking to really stress during this election?
“Well there are four that are quite important in my opinion, and that is tax reform, infrastructure, the Alberta pension plan, and getting our product to tidewater.
So the tax reform is going to be a restructuring of both the personal and corporate tax rates. Where we are going to be putting more money into both the pockets of individuals and the coffers of the businesses to create a more stable environment. For the individuals, we are planning on exception the first $45,000 of their annual income and taxing the rest at 20% as a flat tax. For business, we are planning on reducing their corporate rates from their current 12% to 8.5 %. And to ensure that we get more investors back into Alberta, we are going to implement a 9% flat tax to all foreign investors in hoping that big corporations and international investors will come back and invest back in Alberta.
For the infrastructure, on March 27th our party had announced a municipal roads plan, where we are quite proud of the fact that it will boost approximately $15.6 billion dollars of revenue into the Alberta economy over the 5 year period. All 87 ridings will be receiving $36 million in funding and with the decentralization from Ottawa, this plan is instantly going to create about 160,000 jobs in the same period.
Education is going to be beefed up to 100% form the currently 70%, so that will help the students. Health care is going to be funded to a world-class status. That means, there is going to be no more wait times for procedures and surgeries. There is going to be additional funding for necessary equipment, and perhaps even create necessary wards like the cardiac ward, so that heart attack victims can remain local in their area rather than being flown to big cities like Edmonton or Calgary.
Our Alberta Pension Plan is going to replace the current CPP plan where it’s going to, for seniors, increase their current monthly rate from $1,135, to a $2,389 a month revenue, and for individuals with disabilities, or currently on ASH, their funds would increase to $3,750 a month.
The biggest one that we get asked about more than most is getting our product to tidewater. So under the United National Land lock Agreement, there are two articles of importance. Article 125, which states that, ’all landlocked countries shall have the right to access to and from the sea’. And article 127 then states, that ‘the traffic in transit shall not be subject to any customs, duties, or any other charges.’ Canada has signed on to this agreement and the IMO, which is the law of the sea.”
What is something you are most proud of about your party?
“In my opinion, it’s the Oath of Rights and Freedoms, and this is where we accept all rights and freedoms at no threat, harm, or expense to anyone else’s rights and freedoms. Meaning, no matter who you are in Alberta, your rights and freedoms are protected. And out of the 87 ridings we have 63 representatives in those ridings, and each and every one of us are very passionate individuals that care about the returning of the jobs and the prosperity of all Albertans.
And my personal favourite is the platform covers important issues to everyone. No one is left behind, and it ensures that Albertans are covered first before anything else.”
What do you think is most important to Central Albertans about your platform?
“It would be the education and the health care portion, of where, I believe we have a constitutional right to receive both a top-notch education and a world-class health care system from our government. It is extremely important, I feel, for all parties to be involved to work together on this to maintain a common goal. It is also believed that education should be an extension of ones values and morals, and that it is important to stress the consistency of course material taught between schools and limited the practice of one-sided views. Today, as a business owner, I’m finding that too many kids are lacking in basic fundamental skills and coping mechanisms, and as a whole we have failed these young people and we need to make this right. Government must own their part of the failure. Balancing budgets by cutting teachers, creating larger classrooms and not providing fairness to learning capabilities is a tragedy.
And my best pet peeve of all, with respect to health care: we’re in the 21st century, and Canada prides itself on humanitarian issues, but yet we fail to take care of our own. Our system is flawed, and our priorities are messed up. We’d rather, as a country, send millions even billions overseas to improve their healthcare and their housing, while at home we suffer.
In part, I think the government has seriously failed us all, and this needs to change, and the only way, I feel, that this can be done, is to bring back the $40 billion that Alberta gives away to Ottawa every year. And the main focus of our party is to kick start this economy, which in turn will correct most of these areas.”
What is your area of expertise in your party?
“Well I’m a professional accountant and also a business owner, and I have been for many years, and we provide here various forms of financial and tax advice for both the individual and the business owners, and we feel a very personal connection between the individuals and the government, and how it affects everyone.”
What is your attachment to Central Alberta?
“I moved here in 2004 from Calgary and I started my own accounting practice. I’m a very passionate individual, and I’m passionate about this area and the people that are in it. Over the years, I’ve watched many businesses start and expand to greatness, but in the last 5 years, it’s a very different story. I’m finding the government shows no compassion for small business or individuals, and it results in more and more bankruptcies, more than I’ve ever seen in my entire career.”