EDMONTON - The Klein Conservatives are walking into the provincial election with their "eyes firmly shut and their ears closed to the real concerns of Albertans," says the president of Alberta's largest labour organization.
Audrey Cormack, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, described yesterday's Throne Speech as a big disappointment. She said it proves the government has lost touch with the real priorities of citizens.
"Voters in this province have made it clear that they have serious questions about government policy in areas like health care, taxation and utilities," said Cormack after the speech was delivered by Lt. Governor Lois Hole.
"Yet, there was no mention of Bill 11 or private hospitals. There was also no recognition that government policies have contributed greatly to soaring utility prices. And there was no discussion of the fundamentally inequitable nature of the government's new flat tax."
Cormack said the Throne Speech's silence on these issues suggests that the Klein Tories are content to allow the creeping privatization of Medicare. It also suggests that the government is not listening to the thousands of Albertans who have raised concerns about out-of-control utility prices and new tax laws that favour the well-off at the expense of working families.
"This is more of what we've come to expect from the Tories: vague promises and platitudes masking a hidden agenda that favours privatization, deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy."
Cormack scoffed at the promise of a "Future Summit" to map out a direction for the province once the government has eliminated its debt.
"This is shaping up to be another stage-managed attempt to get a rubber stamp from the public for policies that have already been decided upon," she said, adding that the government appears to be considerably less open and visionary than the school children quoted in the Throne Speech.
"I was pleased to see that 11 year-olds have a vision for the future and are concerned about things like equality, respect and protecting the environment. It's too bad this government can't come up with a similar kind of progressive vision."
For further information call:
Audrey Cormack, President @ 483-3021(wk)/ 499-6530(cell)/ 428-9367(hm)