March 2015: Sign the BWA petition; BWA campaign turns a mirror on Tory mismanagement; Looming TFW deportations highlight inhumanity of program
Sign the Better Way Alberta petition
The Better Way Alberta coalition is urging the government to fix the province’s broken revenue system. And we’re asking you to sign our petition. Join the thousands of Albertans who have already signed, and help be part of the solution.
We the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to ensure there is enough money to pay for necessary public services like education and health care by introducing tax and royalty reforms that include the following measures:
- increasing the tax on corporate profits to a rate that is closer to the national average;
- replacing Alberta’s flat income tax with a progressive tax that requires high-income earners to pay higher tax rates than middle and low-income earners;
- and introducing royalty changes that ensure Albertans receive a fair share from the sale of their resources.
You can sign the petition online at www.BetterWayAlberta.ca or in person at the Alberta Federation of Labour offices (Parkington Plaza, #300, 10408 – 124 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5N 1R5).
Better Way Alberta campaign turns a mirror on Tory mismanagement
Over the next few weeks, voters will be hearing from the Better Way Alberta campaign, showing them that there are sensible, moderate measures that can help ensure the long-term financial stability of the province.
The province-wide campaign will consist of a central website and petition; a radio and online advertising campaign; a direct-mail campaign to every household in Alberta; and a door-to-door campaign in which canvassers will have face-to-face conversations with Albertans about the Better Way Alberta campaign.
“Who created the current budget mess? It’s time for Premier Prentice and the Tories to look in the mirror,” says Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan. “We’re not facing a budget crunch because of anything individual Albertans did. The real problem is that successive PC governments have blown holes in the revenue base we need to fund education, health care and other services that Albertans rely on.”
According to the government’s own numbers, Alberta could increase the amount it gets from taxes by $11.6 billion a year and still have the lowest taxes in Canada. Most of that $11.6 billion that is going uncollected by Alberta’s inequitable tax code is being left in the pockets of the province’s richest individuals and most profitable corporations.
“If we’re all in this together, as Premier Prentice says, why should corporations and the wealthy get a free pass?” McGowan said. “And why should ordinary Albertans pay for the mistakes of politicians again?”
The campaign was created by a coalition of the Alberta Federation of Labour, United Nurses of Alberta, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Alberta Division). Visit www.betterwayalberta.ca for more information about the campaign, or to sign the petition calling on the government to reform its revenue system.
Looming Temporary Foreign Worker deportations highlight inhumanity of program
Thousands of vulnerable Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) are facing deportation.
On April 1st, thousands of work permits will expire, and the workers who hold those permits will be forced to leave. They and their employers were not allowed to renew those work permits because the government tightened the rules on the Temporary Foreign Worker program.
“The Temporary Foreign Worker program needs to be reined in, but without affecting the workers who are already here,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “There should not be any more TFW permits for low-wage employers, but the workers who are already here should have been allowed to stay.”
There are more than 70,000 Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta. The province has the highest percentage of its workforce composed of Temporary Foreign Workers of any jurisdiction in the country. In particular, it is in Alberta where low-wage employers have made the most aggressive use of the program in an attempt to drive down wages.
Did you know…
- Even before the price of oil crashed, revenue generated from Alberta’s shrunken taxes on personal income and corporate profits covered only about 40 per cent of the cost of public services, compared to about 60 per cent in other provinces.
- Women working full-time only earned 63 per cent of the annual average salary their male counterparts earned in Alberta.
Alberta’s spending is $9,786 per person on public services — $434 less than the national average, despite the fact that cost-of-living is higher here.
• March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racism
• April 16-19: AFL Convention “Dream No Little Dreams”
• April 28: International Day of Mourning for Workers Injured or Killed on the Job
November 2014: Parkland Conference: People vs. Profiteers; Energy East wrong type of petroleum infrastructure; Immigration – and TFWP – must remain a federal responsibility; did you k...
People versus Profiteers: Demanding justice and equity
The Parkland Institute’s Annual Fall Conference will explore why, at a time of remarkable wealth production, the money seems to be skewing in very particular directions and away from many groups (full-time, part-time, casual workers; women and minorities; the abjectly poor and disabled outside altogether of labour markets, etc.) and towards a small minority; and what can and should be done about it.
WHEN: November 21 – 23, 2014
WHERE: University of Alberta
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS)
Energy East the wrong type of petroleum infrastructure
The recent application by TransCanada Pipelines to build a pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the Maritimes is another example of infrastructure projects that will impoverish Canada.
By allowing oil companies to ship low-value product, it will undermine the economic viability of upgrading here in Canada and potentially put Canadians out of work.
“The Energy East pipeline won’t bring Alberta oil to eastern refineries – instead it will channel that oil right past Canadian refineries on the way to foreign markets,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “The closest that Energy East will get to a Canadian refinery is the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, but even there, oil transported on the pipeline will not go to the refinery itself; instead it will be delivered to a new oil export terminal.”
Through research and advocacy, the Alberta Federation of Labour is engaged in a campaign to encourage the public, media and government to look more closely at the claims being made by proponents of the pipeline, including the current Premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick.
“Despite all the rhetoric and the spin, it’s clear that Energy East is not a ‘nation building’ project. Instead, it is yet another in a long line of projects aimed to perpetuating the ‘rip-it-and-ship-it’ approach that has characterized Canada’s resource sector for too long,” McGowan said.
Immigration – and TFWP – must remain a federal responsibility
Thousands of companies misusing the Temporary Foreign Worker program, uncovered by the Alberta Federation of Labour, prove that the program should remain a federal responsibility.
Documents obtained under freedom of information requests show that in 2013 there were more than 2,000 businesses nationwide whose workforces were more than 30 per cent TFWs – the majority of which were in Alberta. In the same year, more than 1,000 businesses had workforces that were more than 50 per cent TFWs. Again, the majority of these were in Alberta.
“If people are coming to Canada to work here, they should have the right to stay here. And that means immigration, not a ‘temporary’ status,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “If someone is coming to Canada to work, whatever part of the country they move to first, they should have the right to move to other parts of the country if they so choose. That won’t happen if provincial governments are setting up their own separate ‘temporary’ programs.”
The list also raises serious concerns about the role being played by foreign state-owned corporations in the oil sands. More than half of the workers employed in Alberta by companies like Sinopec (a state-owned oil corporation from China) and Samjin (a subsidiary of Korea’s national oil company) are TFWs.
“The Government of Alberta has – pressured by business groups – floated the idea of taking over management of the TFW program from Ottawa. If that ever took place, it would be a disaster for Canadians and Immigrants alike,” McGowan said.
Did you know ...
- Over the past 40 years, the average Canadian on minimum wage has only seen their hourly pay increase by one penny.
- 86 per cent of Canadian families will see no benefit at all from income-splitting.
- Only 19 per cent of Alberta children 0-5 have access to a regulated child care space.
- Alberta is 2nd-last among Canadian provinces for number of regulated spaces per child. Only Saskatchewan has fewer regulated spaces per child.
• November 14-16: AFL Affiliate Political Campaign School
• December 6: Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
• December 10: PIA Open House