Right-wing budget proposals would worsen Alberta’s recession

Independent analysis shows that attempts to balance the budget too quickly would dramatically magnify job losses

Edmonton – The Alberta Federation of Labour has released an independent economic analysis showing that the kind of austerity measures favoured by the Wildrose party would create a second recession in Alberta – with 38,000 jobs lost, on top of the jobs already lost to low oil prices.

Wildrose austerity measures would also shrink the economy by $10 billion per year in 2017 and 2018.

“This isn’t the time to add to Alberta’s unemployment woes by returning to hack-and-slash budgeting,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Laying off teachers and nurses won’t bring back jobs lost in the energy sector; it will only mean more unemployed Albertans. The austerity prescriptions offered by the Wildrose won’t end the recession; they’ll make it worse.”

The report “Austerity vs. Renewal,” was prepared by Hugh MacKenzie & Associates, a national consulting firm that specializes in public accounts and budgeting. The report calculates how many public service jobs would have to be cut to fulfill Wildrose budgetary proposals, and then shows the dramatic impact those job losses would have on the provincial economy.

The report shows that Wildrose layoffs would directly affect 22,000 workers from the government and arms-length agencies, with an additional 16,000 jobs lost indirectly from government suppliers and from businesses that rely on business from government workers.

Overall, the report says this would shrink the Alberta economy by more than $10 billion per year in 2017 and 2018.

“Austerity in the face of recession has been discredited wherever it has been tried around the world,” McGowan said. “The research we’ve released today shows that the kind of austerity measures favoured by the Wildrose would essentially create a second recession in Alberta. The job of government should be to help its citizens get through tough times, not throw them under the bus. So our message for the government is clear: ignore the irresponsible and economically harmful suggestions coming from the Wildrose.”

Link to Hugh MacKenzie Report Austerity vs. Renewal HERE.

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Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail orokne@afl.org

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  • commented 2016-04-06 12:25:18 -0600
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  • commented 2016-02-18 14:56:59 -0700
    Of course the Wild Rose program will be Draconian based on this proported independent study. Hugh Mackenzie is an economist and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). which is based on the Left leaning, Union Supporting, Progressive policies.
    To say it is independent or unbiased is ridiculous and frankly misleading. (see from their own website). " The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice. Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.,
    Pretty hard to believe the legitimacy of this report other than Union Biased fearmongering looking to protect their jobs & distort the actual truth from what the Wildrose are actually proposing. They have never proposed cutting front line workers. It worked for the unions in 2012, so why not try it again again. Why not propose legitimate reports that actually look at real options and be part of the solution of getting the economy back on track instead of just protecting their turf.