EDMONTON – Finance Minister Iris Evans was right to take a long-term view of the prospects for Alberta’s Heritage Fund and the rest of the economy in today’s fiscal update, and the government should take the same approach to determining appropriate levels of spending for health care and government services, says the president of Alberta’s largest union.
“Minister Evans clearly recognizes that the value of investments will come back after a downturn in the markets, and she was right to advise a calm and balanced approach to fluctuations in the value of the Heritage Fund and our provincial resource revenues,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Doug Knight.
“We hope the government will take the same sensible approach in health care and government services and maintain the services Albertans need and expect, as well as fostering a level of confidence among public sector employees that their jobs are secure,” said Knight.
Finance Minister Iris Evans noted that while the Alberta Heritage Fund and other endowments have taken a roughly 15 per cent investment loss in markets in recent months, the long-term outlook for those investments is positive. Similarly, she noted the government would continue to invest in infrastructure to put the province on solid footing for future economic growth.
“I prefer to think of what we’re doing in our budget as facilitating an economy, building a foundation that will help us grow when the prices rebound and things improve. We will keep that foundation that we believe is so important,” Evans said in her third quarter fiscal update.
Knight was responding in part to remarks made earlier in the week by Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove, who called for operational spending to be pulled in and suggested the only choice facing Albertans is one between higher taxes or cuts in government spending.
“If we take the long view, that markets and resource prices are certain to return to their historical upward trend, we do not have to conclude that the only choice is between tax increases or cutbacks,” he said.
For more information:
David Climenhaga, Communications Director, AUPE – (780) 930-3311 (office), (780) 717-2943 (cellular)
AUPE Offices can be reached by calling toll free – 1-800-232-7284.