EDMONTON - Yesterday's Throne Speech was much like the Conservative's recent election campaign - long on reassuring rhetoric and short on substance, says Audrey Cormack, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"As usual, the government was quick to take credit for our province's strong economy - even though the current boom has much more to do with high international prices for oil and gas than that any policies adopted by the government," says Cormack.
"At the same time, they are still refusing to acknowledge that, despite our wealth, Alberta is facing a number of serious problems. For example, they are still refusing to admit that power deregulation has been a costly failure. And they are still refusing to acknowledge that classes are too large in our schools; that funding for municipalities is inadequate; and that tuition fees are too high in our colleges and universities."
Even in cases where the government promised to take action, Cormack says the Throne Speech focused on symptoms without getting at the root causes of problems.
"They talked about the need to address poverty - but they didn't talk about increasing the minimum wage. They talked about giving our children the best possible start in life - but they didn't talk about improving access to day care or reducing class size. This continues to be a government that simply cannot connect the dots."
Cormack predicts that Albertans who actually took the time to listen to or read the Throne Speech will come away feeling disappointed.
"Here in Alberta, we have been blessed with abundant resources - resources and wealth that make us the envy of the country," says Cormack. "We could be using our wealth to invest in people and build a better future for our children. But instead of progressive investment, we get tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation and an incredibly expensive and ill-conceived rebate program. In this Throne Speech the government could have outlined a real vision for post-debt Alberta - instead all we got was platitudes. It was a wasted opportunity."
For more information call:
Audrey Cormack, AFL President at 499-6530 (cell) or 483-3021 (work)