Alberta PCs will be under pressure at Red Deer Convention

Pressure will be on delegates at Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party convention in Red Deer on Nov. 7 to halt the province's funding cuts to health care, education and other social services.

A Stop the Cuts rally at noon, outside the Capri Hotel where the convention will take place, is expected to attract a few hundred people, including members of Alberta Council On Aging, Public Interest Alberta, Friends of Medicare, Alberta Federation of Labour, other unions and the public.

David Eggen, Friends of Medicare executive director, said delegates can use their votes to convince Alberta's governing PC party to reconsider the cuts.

"We're calling on each of the delegates at the convention at the Capri to exercise good judgment and help us put a pause on these cuts and think more rationally about the long-term future of the province," Eggen said at a press conference on Monday to announce the rally.

"It's an investment in the security and quality of life for all Albertans."

Ken Collier, Friends of Medicare board chair, said the province doesn't seem to recognize that the purpose of government is to support the economy through its hills and valleys.

"Making cuts in the middle of a recession is exactly the wrong time to do it," Collier said.

Instead, government would rather privatize seniors care, which will double or even triple the cost to seniors, he said.

"If they would no longer engage in resource giveaways that they've been doing for decades, I think we would see ample funding to be able to carry on public services as we have been able to enjoy."

Retired teacher Norm McDougall said the province's $80-million cut to education is the wrong way to go if it wants a better educated society that can reduce the cost of health care, crime, and homelessness.

"(Education) produces taxpaying members of society and the educational ability to adjust to economic situation as it changes so they can go with the flow," McDougall said.

"Education pays off. It's a long-term investment."

Stop the Cuts Rally participants will meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Kinsmen Community Hall, at 4726 34th St., before the rally at the Capri Hotel.

For more information, call Public Interest Alberta at 780-420-0471 or Friends of Medicare at 780-423-4581.

Red Deer Advocate, Tues Oct 27 2009
Byline: Susan Zielinski


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