AFL targets royalties and upgrading at economic summit

Federation president to set the record straight on bitumen glut

Edmonton – AFL president Gil McGowan will be tackling Alberta’s revenue problem this Saturday at the Alberta Economic Summit.

The summit will bring together industry, not-for-profit leaders, academics and government members to discuss Alberta’s economic future in light of the current low price of bitumen. McGowan will use this opportunity to ensure revenue reform and oil royalties are part of the discussion on how to tackle the deficit.

“In the debate so far, we’ve heard a lot of misinformation, some obfuscation – and even outright lies,” McGowan said. “Our economy is red hot. Balancing the budget should not be difficult, unless you’re either being deliberately dishonest, or you’re just bad at math.”

McGowan noted that Alberta does not spend more than other provinces on services, and when looking at expenditures on public services as a percentage of the economy, actually ranks dead last in Canada.

“We need to make sure that revenue is part of the discussion,” McGowan said. “By the government’s own numbers, we could collect $10 billion more in taxes and still be the lowest taxed province in Canada. We could use that $10 billion to protect and strengthen public healthcare and education.”

The summit, which will be held at Mount Royal University in Calgary, will involve four moderated panels. McGowan has been asked to participate in the moderated panel on “Balancing Expectations on the Services Albertans Need.” He notes that the ‘Services Albertans Need’ are already understaffed — Alberta has nearly the fewest public employees per capita in the country.

“It’s childish to think that Alberta can maintain good public services without having a revenue base to pay for them,” McGowan said. “That means royalty reform and it means returning to a progressive income tax like Alberta had before 2001.”

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AFL Factsheet:  “Revenue, spending, and public-sector wages”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email orokne@afl.org.


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