Jean’s “Moderate” platform gives Albertans a taste of UCP’s dangerous austerity policies
Edmonton - Independent economic analysis shows the type of austerity measures in Brian Jean’s platform would create a second recession in Alberta, with further job losses on top of jobs already lost to low oil prices.
Seen as the “moderate” candidate in a field of hyper-partisan zealots, Jean’s platform shows just how radical and out-of-touch the United Conservative Party has already shown itself to be. With an immediate $2.6 billion budget slash and vows to reduce wages and take away workers’ rights, Jean’s proposals would add pain to a workforce already damaged by low global oil prices.
“A budget like Brian Jean’s would make unemployment even worse by slashing and burning essential services at exactly the time when they’re most needed,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “With its first leadership candidate platform, the UCP already seems determined to deepen the Albertan recession by cutting thoughtlessly and indiscriminately. We won’t bring back lost jobs in the energy sector by laying off teachers and nurses. We’ll just make a lot more people unemployed, while slashing public services that are more important than ever to Albertans who are hurting. This won’t help the recession – it will just make it worse.”
In “Austerity vs. Renewal,” a report prepared by national consulting firm Hugh MacKenzie & Associates that specializes in public accounts and budgeting, Albertans can see the dramatic impact public service job loss would have on the provincial economy. Analyzing previous Wildrose budget proposals mirrored in Jean’s campaign platform, the report shows Jean’s proposed cuts would directly affect thousands of workers from the government and arms-length agencies, with additional jobs lost from government suppliers and from businesses that rely on business from government workers.
Overall, the report says the Wildrose spending proposals tabled by Jean in 2016 would shrink the Alberta economy by more than $10 billion per year in 2017 and 2018. Jean’s “moderate” UCP leadership platform, with echos of these 2016 budget proposals, would have the same disastrous results.
The Alberta Federation of Labour highlights how the public sector can – and should – cushion the boom-and-bust impacts of a volatile energy economy, providing a critical stabilizing role in downturns, in its 2017 Budget Consultation Brief. Alberta’s per-capita spending is directly in line with other provinces, and its spending as a percentage of GDP is the lowest in the country. The data shows that providing government stability during recessions is key – the slash-and-burn cuts of previous PC governments isn’t the answer. Alberta doesn’t have a spending problem; it has a revenue problem.
“We know from decades of world-wide experience and research that austerity budgeting and corporate tax cuts in the face of recession just doesn’t work,” McGowan said. “Governments need to help citizens cope in hard times, not make life even harder. Jean’s plan shows that the UCP’s reckless and dangerous agenda that will hurt Albertans, and we can only imagine how less ‘moderate’ candidates will stack up.”
Link to Hugh MacKenzie Report Austerity vs. Renewal HERE.
Link to Alberta Federation of Labour Budget Consultation Brief HERE.
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