EDMONTON – Ever wonder why Alberta, Canada's wealthiest province, is running a $3-billion deficit and saying it can't afford to maintain middle-of-the-road spending on vital public services?
That's the question that a coalition of labour and community groups want Albertans to start asking in the run-up to the next provincial election, expected to be called within the next month.
"Why in a province as wealthy as Alberta is the talk always about cuts and freezes to things that Albertans value, like education and health care," asks Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"The truth is the only reason our government is running deficits and talking about cutbacks is because they've blown a hole in the revenue base we need to fund services. The cupboard is bare because Alberta's irresponsibly low royalty and corporate tax rates have made it bare."
A news conference will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, January 25th to officially unveil the advocacy campaign that the AFL has developed in partnership with the Public Interest Alberta (PIA), a network of community groups and activists.
The news conference will be held at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 25th in the MacDougall Room, 3rd floor, Chateau Lacombe Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Edmonton (10111 Bellamy Hill).
"Albertans are being told that they have no choice but to accept cuts to things like health care, post-secondary education and various services for the disadvantaged," says PIA Executive Director Bill Moore-Kilgannon.
"But the truth is we DO have choices. By introducing modest increases to tax and royalty rates we could generate the money we need to maintain the kind of high-quality services that Albertans need to face the future with confidence."
At the news conference McGowan and Moore-Kilgannon will unveil three radio ads, a direct mail piece and a campaign website. All of this is in addition to work that the AFL and PIA did to assist in the publication of the book Follow the Money that was released last week.
For more information:
• Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (780) 218-9888
• Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Director, Public Interest Alberta (780) 993-3736