Using the government's own tools for economic forecasting, the Alberta Federation of Labour has prepared a report for the Join Together, Alberta campaign that reveals the devastating effects that would follow spending cuts of the magnitude floated by the government of Premier Ed Stelmach.
The global recession hit Alberta hard - there are 44,700 fewer jobs in the province today than there were at the "top of the boom" (October 2008).
The AFL report - entitled Worse Than the Recession? - concludes that by imposing a round of deep public-sector spending cuts, the government could end up destroying between 33,500 and 60,000 jobs, depending on the scale of the cuts.
These calculations were made using the government's own economic forecasting models and they were based on assumption that the government will impose cuts of between $2 billion and $3.72 billion.
"One of the central points that this analysis makes is that these massive job losses would not be confined to the public sector," says AFL president Gil McGowan. "For every health or education worker who loses a job, there are ripple effects that cause even more layoffs in the private sector."
"While governments and economists around the world report that stimulus measures are working and warn against spending cuts, Alberta appears headed in the opposite direction," says McGowan.
"And in the process they run the very real risk of stopping the recovery dead in its tracks and causing real pain for Albertans without any good reason."
Instead of imposing deep and unnecessary cuts, McGowan says the provincial government should be maintaining or even increasing levels of public investment to help Albertans ride out the recession and nurture the emerging economic recovery.
"Things are just starting to turn around," concludes McGowan. "But instead of throwing Albertans a life-line, the government is going to throw them a stone. It's a strategy that will drag Alberta workers, families and communities down just as they're struggling to keep their heads above water."
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Gil McGowan, AFL president @ (780) 218-9888 (cell)