Government rules allowed private, for-profit facility to evict senior in stable condition
An Alberta family is demanding answers from the Conservative government after their mother, a long-term-care patient in stable condition, was dumped at a hospital emergency room by a private care-home operator.
"We are appalled that our 80-year-old mother was treated liked a commodity instead of being treated with the respect and dignity that all Albertans deserve," says Beth Podgurny, of St. Albert.
"Within days of our mother moving in, the private, for-profit home in which she was living began asking us for more money, but when we told them they should stick to the terms of the contract that we had only recently signed, they responded with an eviction notice," says Podgurny.
"The fact that there appears to be nothing under provincial rules to prevent this is mind-boggling. It just goes to show that the privatization solution that Premier Alison Redford is pushing to address long-term-care issues isn't the answer for vulnerable Albertans."
Podgurny and other members of her family will hold a media conference Wednesday to call on the government for answers about the long-term-care crisis, and to ask why they have had no answer from Health and Wellness Minister Fred Horne and Seniors Minister George VanderBurg nearly two months after writing to them seeking a public inquiry into long-term care.
Other speakers at the media conference:
- Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director, Public Interest Alberta
- Noel Somerville, chair of the PIA Seniors Task Force
TIME: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
LOCATION: River Valley Room, Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill, Edmonton.
- Bill Moore-Kilgannon, 780-993-3736
EDMONTON - You can hear it on the floor of AltaSteel's east Edmonton mill when the hourly price of electricity spikes. Virtually everything goes quiet.
For almost two full days this week, there was no jet engine-like roar from the massive furnace, no crackle of melting scrap metal and no sirens indicating that red hot liquid steel was about to pour into the ladle below.
"We turn off when the price per kilowatt hour hits a certain threshold," AltaSteel president David Knights said Thursday. "At a certain value, it becomes uneconomic for us to operate the steelmaking facilities."
Electricity use in Alberta is on many people's minds. Earlier this week, the Alberta Electric System Operator, which oversees the operation of the electricity grid, reported two records for energy consumption. Hearings also are taking place in Edmonton about the future of a controversial power transmission line proposal.
For some big electricity users, however, dramatic hourly price fluctuations due to consumer demand, extreme cold and a number of forced outages at power generators in the province, are a concern.
The highest possible price per megawatt hour in Alberta is $999.99, said AESO spokeswoman Dawn Delaney. "We have hit that this week."
Industrial and commercial users account for nearly 85 per cent of demand for electricity in the province. For industrial electricity consumers who aren't on a fixed-rate contract in this deregulated electricity market, those hourly price fluctuations are serious business.
While residential electricity bills are calculated based on a monthly rate, industrial users are metered and billed hourly.
That is why companies such as AltaSteel and Whitecourt's Alberta Newsprint Company keep a close watch on those fluctuating prices. Like AltaSteel, Alberta Newsprint Company's mill is typically a 24-hour-a-day operation. Electricity accounts for 40 per cent of its costs.
"The very first thing you see when you go into our mill is this screen where you see the power prices," Alberta Newsprint's director of energy Surendra Singh said.
On both Monday and Tuesday, those electricity prices prompted the newspaper mill's shutdown from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The decision, Singh said, was obvious. "At that price, it is completely uneconomical to run our mill. We lose money to produce paper at that price."
AltaSteel employs about 400 workers. Alberta Newsprint has 190 employees. In both cases, the workers remain on-site and are paid to tend to other duties as they wait for prices to dip low enough to restart the plants.
AltaSteel was back in production Thursday morning, but staff kept an eye on AESO's website, which tracks electricity use across the province and prices.
Paul Perreault, an AltaSteel employee and president of the Local 5220 of United Steelworkers of America, which represents most AltaSteel's workers, said the spikes in electricity prices concern workers worried about the effect on the mill's future
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan want the province to again regulate electricity prices. It would help people with their power bills at home and help keep jobs here, he said. "If you can keep power prices lower, that's a competitive advantage. It's a consumer issue, but it's also a business issue."
NDP Leader Brian Mason also called on the province this week to end deregulation. Alberta Energy spokesman Bart Johnson said Thursday there are no plans for that to happen.
"Most industries in the province do not buy their power in real time," Johnson said. "Most have contracts and therefore aren't affected by the sudden spikes, whether they be up or down. Any industry or company that doesn't like the spikes can buy into a contract like other companies do."
This week's shutdowns were not the first for AltaSteel. Knights said the plant does loses some hours each month because of high electricity prices, typically in the afternoon when people get home. "This is the longest period we've been down," he said of this week.
For OneSteel, AltaSteel's Australian parent company, electricity prices here are at the high end compared to its four facilities in Australia. "Steel is a low-margin business. It's a competitive business. There's oversupply in the steel industry," Knights said. "The power prices are putting us at a competitive disadvantage to our competition overseas and across the border."
A fixed-price contract is not an option for AltaSteel because those prices are "prohibitive," he said, urging the province to review its deregulated model.
Alberta Newsprint Company's Singh said his company is concerned about too little generating capacity in the province. In the meantime, it is working to be more energy efficient and is proposing to build its own on-site power plant.
"This kind of prices, we can't afford them and we can't have our plant going up and down the way we have right now," Singh said.
Edmonton Journal, Thurs Jan 19 2012
Byline: Sarah O'Donnell
Issue: The Harper government's bid to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and undermine rural Prairie communities through Bill C-18, now before the Senate.
Action Requested: Take part in an urgent campaign to get the Senate to stop passage of the bill while the matter is before the courts.
When: Before Dec. 14. The government has said it intends to push the legislation through before Christmas even though a Federal Court judge has ruled the Agriculture Minister broke the law by failing to consult farmers. The government says it will appeal that ruling, but won't wait to have the appeal held and is pressing ahead with the legislation.
The Harper government is seeking to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board with the passage of Bill C-18. This move is illegal because the law requires the government to consult with farmers on any changes to the CWB, but the government has refused to consult. It is undemocratic because it ignores a vote held by farmers in which the majority said they wanted to keep the board.
AFL's Position: This is not about wheat. The government's move is fuelled by its ideological opposition to collective action. It wants to undermine the ability of farmers to work collectively to get a better price for their product in the same way it has undermined the ability of workers to bargain collectively by forcing them back to work in recent disputes at Canada Post and Air Canada. If the government succeeds in dismantling the Wheat Board, the only winners will be large corporations. The losers will be smaller family farms who will no longer be able to compete on an equal footing with larger corporate farms and will no longer be able to negotiate with the large corporations that buy their products. Studies show Prairie farmers will lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year – money that is vital to the survival of many of our rural communities. For more details, read the joint statement issued by the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Federations of Labour.
Action: Join the campaign by the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA) to contact senators and the Governor-General by email, phone and fax to let them know that if they pass this bill they will be flaunting the law and not acting in the best interests of the Western Canadian farmer and their communities, or in Canada's best interests. The CWBA is asking for messages to be sent by phone and fax as well as email, because the senators' e-mail risks getting backed up, so phone and fax may be the fastest way to get your message through. Provided here is contact info for Alberta senators, followed by a list of other senators provided by the CWBA, whom they feel are most likely to change their vote or not show up for the vote. Contact info for the Governor-General is also provided.
• Elaine McCoy: Tel. 613-995-4293 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-995-4304; Email. email@example.com
• Tommy Banks: Tel. 613-995-1889 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-995-1938; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bert Brown: Tel. 613-944-3434 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-944-3438; Email email@example.com
• Joyce Fairbairn: Tel. 613-996-4382 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-995-3223; Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
• Grant Mitchell: Tel. 613-995-4254 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-995-4265; Email. email@example.com
• Claudette Tardif: Tel. 613-947-3589 or 1-800-267-7362; Fax. 613-947-3609; Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Senators to contact:
Last name First name Phone Fax Prov
Boisvenu Pierre-Hugues 613-943-4030 613-943-4029 QC
Demers Jacques 613-992-0151 613-992-0128 QC
Rivard Michel 613-947-4107 613-947-4110 QC
Champagne Andrée 613-995-3999 613-995-4034 QC
Nancy Ruth 13-995-4174 613-995-4188 ON
Segal Hugh 613-995-4059 613-995-5259 ON
Andreychuk Raynell 613-947-2239 613-947-2241 SK
Angus W. David 613-947-3193 613-947-3195 QC
Cochrane Ethel M. 613-992-1577 613-995-6691 NL/T
Comeau Gerald J. 613-943-1448 613-943-1556 NS
Di Nino Consiglio 613-943-1454 613-943-1800 QC
Johnson Janis G. 613-943-1430 613-992-5029 MB
Kinsella Noël A. 613-992-4416 613-992-9772 NB
LeBreton Marjory 613-943-0756 613-943-1493 ON
Meighen Michael A. 613-943-1421 613-943-1565 ON
Nolin Pierre Claude 613-943-1451 613-943-1792 QC
Oliver Donald H. 613-943-1445 613-943-1502 NS
St. Germain Gerry 613-947-2242 613-947-2244 BC
Stratton Terry 613-947-2224 613-943-1563 MB
Tkachuk David 613-947-3196 613-947-3198 SK
Rivest Jean-Claude 613-947-2236 613-947-2238 QC
Rt. Hon. David Johnston: Tel. 613-993-8200; Fax 613-998-8760
November 2011: Canadian Wheat Board; Keystone XL decision; Occupy Movement; health and safety blitzes
Prairie labour groups defend Canadian Wheat Board
- The The Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Federations of Labour united to defend the Canadian Wheat Board against attack from the Harper government. In a joint statement, the labour groups said the plan to dismantle the wheat board was illegal and undemocratic. AFL President Gil McGowan said: "The real truth is that the Harper government believes in a free market only when it's good for large corporations. It wants to destroy the ability of farmers to freely and collectively bargain to get the best price for their goods. It's the same ideological attack Harper has made on the rights of workers to collectively bargain to get a fair deal for their work in back-to-work legislation at Canada Post and Air Canada." For more ... and AFL Joint Statement on Canadian Wheat Board
AFL applauds U.S. decision to delay Keystone XL decision
- Albertans should see the Obama administration's decision to delay its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline as an opportunity to get more value out of our bitumen, rather than shipping our raw resources and jobs down the pipeline to the U.S. "It is an opportunity for us to move up the value chain and create a more prosperous and stable economic future for Albertans," says AFL president Gil McGowan. For more ... and news story on Keystone XL decision
Occupy movement a force for positive change in Alberta
- While protesters at Occupy Edmonton and Calgary faced moves to force them from their camps, they earned praise from the AFL for bringing important issues to the fore. "The Occupation sites were vibrant reminders of deeper issues of economic inequality in Alberta. What is truly unsightly is the presence of a government that favours its corporate friends over the interests of all Albertans," said AFL president Gil McGowan. He said their message and voices "will continue to inspire positive change in this province." For November 26th AFL press release; for November 9th AFL press release; and for October 14th AFL press release ...
Want to be safe at work? Join a union!
- A blitz of construction worksites by Occupational Health and Safety inspectors revealed the shocking level of unsafe practices faced by Alberta workers, with nearly 400 orders issued after 600 inspections of 387 employers. While the AFL welcomed a move to add evening and weekend inspections, it said much more must be done to keep workers safe. The best solution is to allow workers to join unions. "The evidence is clear from Alberta and across the country that the presence of unions at construction sites reduces the number of injuries and fatalities," says Gil McGowan, AFL president. Meanwhile, the AFL welcomed the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision to uphold a ruling that that Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co. can be prosecuted for the deaths of two oilsands workers. "Today's ruling makes it clear that if international companies want to do business here, they have to not only respect our laws, but also be accountable when they violate them," says McGowan. For November 8th AFL press release and for November 23rd AFL press release ...
- Rally for striking workers at Peri Formwork Systems in Calgary - The workers at Peri Formwork Systems in Calgary have been on strike since July 4, 2011. They are seeking fair compensation and improved working conditions in their first collective agreement. The members of Carpenters Local 2010 members have not received a pay increase in three years. Join the rally in support of these workers.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm,
29 Industry Way S.E., Calgary
- Sign the Declaration of Support for Jordan's Principle - Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation was ready to go home from hospital when he was two years old but spent over two years unnecessarily in hospital as the federal government and provincial governmentt could not agree on who should pay for his at home care. Jordan passed away at the age of five never having spent a day in a family home while governments continued to argue. Jordan's Principle seeks to ensure no other child becomes a victim of such jurisdictional disputes. Sign the petition here ...
- December 1: World AIDS Day
- December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- December 4: Commemorative Brunch
- December 6-7: AFL Executive Council
- December 6: AFL Open House
- December 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
- December 9: Deadline for registration for AFL 2012 School
- December 18: International Migrants Day
- December 20: Deadline for registration for January 27-29 2012 Equinox Weekend
Did you know ...
If four new upgraders were built in Alberta, we'd gain:
- 52,000 person years of direct construction employment
- 10,960 person years of engineering work
- 4,000 permanent operations jobs
- An additional 12,000 supply, service and maintenance jobs
- $400 million per year in provincial corporate taxes (based on Alberta estimates)
- $780 million per year in federal corporate income taxes
(Source: Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, "Refine it where we mine it – Job creation,")
Western Agriculture Ministers acting against the interests of rural communities, says AFL
EDMONTON, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - The leading labour groups from the Prairie provinces today united in calling on the Harper government to abandon its illegal and undemocratic plan to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).
"Bill C-18, which will be voted on in the House of Commons today, is not about market freedom, despite what the Harper government claims. It is an early Christmas gift to the Conservatives' corporate friends - at the expense of Canadian communities, families and working people," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) which represents 145,000 workers.
The AFL, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the Manitoba Federation of Labour today issued a joint statement condemning the plan to dismantle the wheat board.
"The plan is illegal, because the government has refused to hold a vote among farmers on the issue. It is undemocratic, because it ignores the wheat board's own vote, in which a majority voted to keep the board," says McGowan.
"It is extremely disappointing to see the Agriculture Ministers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. today backing this deeply flawed plan. They are acting against the interests of the fragile rural communities they claim to represent," he says.
The joint statement from the labour federations says: "For more than 75 years, the CWB has worked successfully to help farmers negotiate on an equal footing with the buyers of their products, mainly large multi-national or U.S. corporations. It has also helped small Prairie farmers compete with larger corporate farming operations."
It adds: "Clearly, the CWB is working for the majority of farmers. The Tory government has not put forward a business case for its decision and it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to wrap up CWB operations. Prairie farmers and rural communities will lose out. Only large corporations and foreign corporate buyers will benefit."
Says McGowan: "The real truth is that the Harper government believes in a free market only when it's good for large corporations. It wants to destroy the ability of farmers to freely and collectively bargain to get the best price for their goods. It's the same ideological attack Harper has made on the rights of workers to collectively bargain to get a fair deal for their work in back-to-work legislation at Canada Post and Air Canada."
The AFL president also issued a warning: "The Harper government won't rest here. The dairy and poultry industries are next on the list of targets."
Statement on Canadian Wheat Board
From the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Federations of Labour
The Harper government's decision to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) is illegal and undemocratic. Once again, the Conservative government is putting the interests of its corporate friends ahead of the interests of Canadian communities, families and working people.
Illegal: The law requires the government to consult with farmers on any changes to the CWB, but the government has refused to hold a vote among farmers.
Undemocratic: Farmers held their own vote on the future of the CWB and a majority voted to keep the board. The Harper government is ignoring this vote. Farmers elect directors of the CWB - eight out of 10 elected board members are strong proponents of the board. The Harper government is ignoring this. While Harper claims his majority in the House of Commons gives him a mandate, 60 per cent of voters in the last federal election backed parties that support the CWB.
The real story: The Tory government claims it believes in the free market, but wants to undermine the ability of farmers to get together to freely and collectively bargain for the best price for their goods. To Harper, market freedom extends only to corporations. Any attempt by farmers or workers to act collectively to get a fair deal for their work is under attack. We have seen this in back-to-work legislation for members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and for workers at Air Canada. We are seeing it again now with the CWB. Next on the list of targets will be the dairy and poultry industries. Ed Fast, the Minister of International Trade, has admitted that the supply-management systems in these sectors will be on the table in free-trade talks with the Asia-Pacific trade group.
For more than 75 years, the CWB has worked successfully to help farmers negotiate on an equal footing with the buyers of their products, mainly large multi-national or U.S. corporations. It has also helped small Prairie farmers compete with larger corporate farming operations.
The CWB has annual revenues of $5 billion to $8 billion, all of which goes to farmers, less operating costs, as profit. It receives no public subsidies. Studies show that farmers earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year more when going through CWB than they would in an open market. That money is vital to the survival of the small, family farms that are the backbone of Canadian agriculture - and to the rural Prairie communities where they operate.
Clearly, the CWB is working for the majority of farmers. The Tory government has not put forward a business case for its decision and it will costs hundreds of millions of dollars to wrap up CWB operations. Prairie farmers and rural communities will lose out. Only large corporate farmers and foreign corporate buyers will benefit.
That is why the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Federations of Labour wholeheartedly support the campaign to save the Canadian Wheat Board and ask our members to join that fight by signing the petition at www.StopTheSteamroller.ca.
Digital Journal, Mon Nov 28 2011
Prairie labour groups defend Wheat Board as Parliament votes;Western Agriculture Ministers acting against the interests of rural communities, says AFL
EDMONTON –The leading labour groups from the Prairie provinces today united in calling on the Harper government to abandon its illegal and undemocratic plan to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).
“Bill C-18, which will be voted on in the House of Commons today, is not about market freedom, despite what the Harper government claims. It is an early Christmas gift to the Conservatives’ corporate friends – at the expense of Canadian communities, families and working people,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) which represents 145,000 workers.
The AFL, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the Manitoba Federation of Labour today issued a joint statement condemning the plan to dismantle the wheat board.
“The plan is illegal, because the government has refused to hold a vote among farmers on the issue. It is undemocratic, because it ignores the wheat board’s own vote, in which a majority voted to keep the board,” says McGowan.
“It is extremely disappointing to see the Agriculture Ministers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. today backing this deeply flawed plan. They are acting against the interests of the fragile rural communities they claim to represent,” he says.
The joint statement from the labour federations says: “For more than 75 years, the CWB has worked successfully to help farmers negotiate on an equal footing with the buyers of their products, mainly large multi-national or U.S. corporations. It has also helped small Prairie farmers compete with larger corporate farming operations.”
It adds: “Clearly, the CWB is working for the majority of farmers. The Tory government has not put forward a business case for its decision and it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to wrap up CWB operations. Prairie farmers and rural communities will lose out. Only large corporations and foreign corporate buyers will benefit.”
Says McGowan: “The real truth is that the Harper government believes in a free market only when it’s good for large corporations. It wants to destroy the ability of farmers to freely and collectively bargain to get the best price for their goods. It’s the same ideological attack Harper has made on the rights of workers to collectively bargain to get a fair deal for their work in back-to-work legislation at Canada Post and Air Canada.”
The AFL president also issued a warning: “The Harper government won’t rest here. The dairy and poultry industries are next on the list of targets.”
MEDIA CONTACT:Gil McGowan, AFL president, 780-218-9888 (cell)
Prime Minister Harper has stated that he intends to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board by Christmas, 2011. It's time to tell him to Stop the Steamroller.
- Prime Minister Harper has not adequately consulted, as he is required to do, the relevant Canadian wheat and barley farmers on the matter.
- In a plebiscite, 62% of relevant farmers stated that they want the CWB to remain in place.
- This decision could be the beginning of the end for many family farms that form the backbone of Canadian agriculture, and it is unconscionable that a Canadian way of life should be put at risk without the opinions of those families being heard.
Sign this petition and tell the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the House of Commons you are standing up for farmers and the Canadian Wheat Board.
28,292 people have signed on and sent messages. Let's add to that.
Expect cutbacks to the education system to be front-and-centre when a group calling for more money for education, health care, and other government services holds a public meeting in Edmonton Thursday night.
The 7pm meeting at Santa Maria Community Centre, at 11050 90th Street, marks the last one on a seven-city tour by Join Together Alberta. Public Interest Alberta, Alberta Federation of Labour, Friends of Medicare, and the Alberta Teachers' Association are among those taking part.
Both, Edmonton Public and Catholic School Boards are preparing to move forward with fewer teachers and other staff this fall, in an effort to balance their books. The public school board has already passed its budget, with cuts to 229 teaching positions. The Catholic board is forecasting 97 lost teaching positions, as it prepares to pass its budget next week.
iNews880am, Thurs Jun 23 2011
Fluctuating revenues lead to cuts when oil prices decline
In industries such as oil and gas, revenues can fluctuate, sometimes wildly, with the ebbs and flows of the market.
For a province such as Alberta, whose revenue is heavily based on the oil and gas industry, such fluctuations are a major problem because the need for that money doesn't fluctuate. The need to fund areas such as health care and education is constant.
It's for that reason that Public Interest Alberta is campaigning to push the province to fix a revenue system it says is broken.
The organization is touring the province, holding town hall meetings - including one in Lethbridge tonight at 7 p.m. at Southminster United Church - to let Albertans know the province does have options for generating revenue that could eliminate the need for cuts.
Public Interest Alberta points out the province still has about $10 billion in rainy-day savings in the Heritage Trust Fund. The organization also says Alberta - the only province still using a flat tax - would be better served by switching to a progressive tax system which could generate up to extra $2 billion in revenue.
Alberta also overspent by $900 million on its energy stimulus drilling program which provides subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
The extra money in government coffers would come in handy now with school districts facing the prospect of budget shortfalls for next term.
"It's obviously well know that there's $100 million that's been cut out of the education budget even though they're looking at an additional 6,000 children from K to 12 going into our system next year," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, which is helping to spearhead the "Join Together Alberta" campaign which demands Alberta change to a more consistent revenue model.
Moore-Kilgannon notes post-secondary institutions are also facing tough times because the zero per cent increase in their operating budgets the past two years effectively amounts to a cut because operating costs have risen.
He's right when he says the need for health care, education and care for seniors doesn't rise and fall with the price of oil, and that cuts made today ultimately wind up producing greater costs down the road. That doesn't include the social costs in terms of hardship for Albertans who rely on these services.
There's no need for Albertans to have to endure such hardship. We are fortunate to live in one of the "have" provinces; maintaining services essential to Albertans shouldn't be as difficult as it has become.
"Alberta is one of the wealthiest places in the world, blessed with an abundance of extremely valuable natural resources - and yet our government has manufactured a financial crisis that is likely to see 1,200 teachers laid off in the next few months and a still to be determined number of vital educational support staff," Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour and co-chair of the JTA campaign, said in a news release at the campaign's launch. "Our education system is experiencing the same kind of chaos that has been inflicted on our health-care system, and that pain is also being felt in post-secondary education and in social services struggling to help vulnerable Albertans."
A more sustainable revenue system could ease that pain.
Lethbridge Herald, Thurs Jun 16 2011
With 331 jobs set to be lost in Calgary's public schools alone, Join Together Alberta (JTA) is holding a town hall meeting tonight in Calgary to challenge cuts to education, health care, and other vital public services, and to address the real issue: Alberta's broken taxation and royalty system.
"The Calgary Board of Education is losing 172 teaching positions, the Calgary Catholic Board is losing 90 positions and across the province 1200 teaching positions are being cut," says Alberta Teachers' Association President Carol Henderson. "Our schools are being short-changed by over $100 million and our schools cannot handle those types of reductions. Class sizes are increasing, special needs students are losing their supports and our immigrant and refugee students are falling through the cracks."
"Alberta is one of the wealthiest places in the world, blessed with an abundance of extremely valuable natural resources – and yet our government has manufactured a financial crisis that is causing massive layoffs in our schools," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 145,000 workers and co-chair of the JTA campaign. "Our education system is experiencing the same kind of chaos that has been inflicted on our health-care system, and that pain is also being felt in post-secondary education and in social services struggling to help vulnerable Albertans."
"Cuts to public services are not necessary at this time," says Diana Gibson of the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute, "the Alberta government is giving away billions in needless tax cuts."
"Join Together Alberta is touring the province, mobilizing people from various public service sectors and citizens across Alberta who care deeply about the fabric of our communities. Albertans know that our public services and communities are worth fighting for, and this campaign is going to help make that loud and clear to all political parties," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta and co-chair of JTA.
"Today's cuts to education will be felt for generations. In health care, we need excellence in education from early childhood to post secondary levels. These building blocks are crucial in developing the highly skilled health professionals we depend on. But not only is it important to health care, it is important for all sectors of society, for all our children, and all our citizens," says Elisabeth Ballermann, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Location: Parkdale United Church, Conference Room, 2919 8th Avenue NW, Calgary
Panel Speakers and Media Spokespeople:
- Gil McGowan – President, Alberta Federation of Labour
- Bill Moore-Kilgannon – Executive Director, Public Interest Alberta
- Diana Gibson – Research Director, Parkland Institute
- Elisabeth Ballermann – President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta
- Carol Henderson – President, Alberta Teachers' Association
Please direct media inquiries to:
- Gil McGowan, Alberta Federation of Labour, 780-218-9888
- Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Public Interest Alberta, 780-993-3736