AFL job-loss prediction ‘vastly exaggerated’: Morton

EDMONTON - The Alberta Federation of Labour estimates as many as 60,000 jobs could be lost if the government cuts billions from the provincial budget next month.

The number of jobs lost - not backed up by any government documents or confirmation to date - would outpace even the effects of the global recession, federation president Gil McGowan said Monday morning.

"It's true that the government has not been talking about job cuts," McGowan said. But, "You can't cut $2 or $3 billion out of a provincial budget and not see job losses."

The federation outlines the risk of cutting government spending in a report called "Worse Than the Recession," released Monday.

The province is expected to outline the road to $2 billion in cuts and savings when the 2010-11 budget is released Feb. 9.

A second $2-billion "fiscal correction" is expected in the 2011-12 budget, as Premier Ed Stelmach's government works its way out of a deficit.

"That seems vastly exaggerated," Finance Minister Ted Morton said of the federation's estimate, noting the province has been talking to labour groups about minimizing job losses. "We're hoping they'll be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

In 2009, a total of 28,600 jobs were lost in Alberta.

Edmonton, Mon Jan 25 2010
Byline: Trish Audette

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