Provincial budget hurts front-line services as government blames workers
Edmonton – Alberta’s 2015 budget shows that the government has public services in the crosshairs.
The budget, tabled on Thursday, March 26, will eliminate 2,000 public sector jobs – mostly in health care – and will increase fees for services. The government’s budget documents also included promises to undermine public-sector wages. In all, the budget promises to cut $1.9 billion overall from the services Albertans need.
“Prentice is more interested in maintaining low taxes for his corporate buddies than maintaining quality front-line services in health care and education for everyone else,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “This isn't a balanced approach, it isn’t a ‘hold-the-line budget.’ This is a budget that will hurt everyday Albertans, and it doesn’t spread the burden by increasing corporate taxes.”
On the chopping block in the budget are 1,700 health care employees and 244 education employees.
“You can’t cut 1,700 jobs from health care without having an impact on front-line services. Everyone will see fewer public services – especially health care – in the next few years,” McGowan said. “It’s galling to think that they’ve brought back a health care levy while taking an axe to the health care system. Albertans are going to start paying more for their health care, while getting a lot less.”
Despite clear public support for proposed revenue measures the budget did not include any changes to corporate taxes or to royalty rates on the province’s natural resources.
“The government is not listening to its citizens,” McGowan said. “Albertans want to be paid fairly for their resources. They want large and profitable corporations to pay a fair tax rate – something closer to what we had under Lougheed.”-30-
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org