Statement from Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan
Despite the positive slogans, in the last two years the Kenney UCP government has made cuts to Albertans’ health care, education and social programs and has undermined Alberta’s economic stability. This government has put corporate interests above Albertans’ health and welfare with tax cuts and loopholes for the rich and funding cuts for working Albertans, including cruel cuts to the most vulnerable.
Especially during this COVID-19 health pandemic, we need a government that will put Albertans’ lives above all else.
We need a government that understands what working families need. Working families need confidence to make plans for the future. They need stable jobs with safe workplaces, good wages and good pensions. They need to know that the government has their backs.
But they don’t have that right now.
The Kenney government is unpredictable, ideological and untrustworthy. Albertans don’t trust this government. They don’t trust Jason Kenney.
Jason Kenney has made it clear that he wants to drive down Albertans’ wages. While this budget may be about driving down the wages of the people delivering public services like health care and education – the teachers and nurses of the province – Albertans should be wary that wages of all workers are in his crosshairs. He’s driven down the wages of students. He’s frozen the wages of minimum-wage workers. Now he’s going after the wages of public-sector workers. Working Albertans should ask themselves, are my wages next?
The Kenney government has made workplaces less safe. He’s diluted and deleted workplace safety rules that are common in other provinces. This is dangerous and will have serious and deadly consequences for Alberta workers and their families.
And soon Jason Kenney will come after our pensions. It’s not a hyperbole. It’s the truth. Jason Kenney seized control of public-sector pensions by dictating that the government is now the investment arm, breaking a promise he made to workers and their unions that he would allow them to remain independent. Soon, he’ll have a referendum on seizing control of everyday Albertans’ Canada Pension Plan by the same means as what he did to the province’s teachers, nurses and civil servants.
The question most Albertans are asking themselves in the lead up to this year’s budget is, what’s next? Are my wages on the chopping block? Is my job in jeopardy with this government? Which workplace benefit or safeguard will be eliminated without regard for my family and their future?
Jason Kenney has an opportunity with this budget to restore Albertans’ trust in him and his government by restoring and increasing the funding we need for our safety, health care and education, but, based on his track record in government, he doesn’t care and won’t change, even if it means putting our province back on track.
Director of Communications, AFL