Calgary Chamber, U of C enthusiastic about provincial investments, hopeful for more dollars

It didn’t take long Tuesday evening for some Calgary institutions to express enthusiasm for investments promised in the United Conservative Party’s 2023 provincial budget – and to remind that more will be needed.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce lauded “a deliberate fiscal framework and strategic investments in initiatives that seek to diversify and improve economic competitiveness across the province,” while it was left wanting “greater funding for investments in downtown vibrancy, supports for businesses including tax incentives and clear commitments to emissions-reductions technology.”

“There are some strong steps forward in today’s budget, but a few missed opportunities as well. The fiscal framework leverages the provincial surplus, which is important in ensuring stability for the Alberta economy for today and the future,” says Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

“However, as the biggest city in the province, we’re disappointed to see little support for Calgary in the context of downtown revitalization, and the businesses who drive our economic prosperity – especially given Calgary is the corporate headquarters for the province, where important investment decisions are made that affect the provincial economy.”

Dr. Ed McCauley, the University of Calgary’s president and vice-chancellor, praised “increased investment in enrolment funding and financial support for infrastructure planning,” calling it “a positive step toward meeting growing demands for UCalgary.”

McCauley also noted steps taken toward addressing student affordability issues.

“Investments in talent are investments in Alberta’s future and we’re pleased to see money earmarked for enrolment growth, which will help us address high demand for programs that are at capacity.” McCauley said.

“Calgary is a young and growing city and today’s investment helps the University of Calgary grow alongside of it.”

But McCauley also said “further increases to operating grants will be needed to keep pace with growth,” and that “it continues to be a challenging time.”

“Growth in the City of Calgary will need to be met with essential investment in teaching, learning and research. These investments grow and diversify Calgary’s economy – and more than pay for themselves over the long term,” McCauley said.

“We hope this budget is the precursor to further support from the province for an institution that helps drive our current economy while also ensuring Alberta has a prosperous and sustainable future.”