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The Fraser Institute continues to scapegoat average Albertans for the province’s financial chaos, the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said today.

The Fraser Institute continues to scapegoat average Albertans for the province’s financial chaos, the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said today.

“The real issue behind Alberta’s fiscal crisis is poor decision-making at the top,” said Guy Smith. “In 2000, Alberta’s corporate income tax rate was 15.5 per cent. By 2006 the government had whittled that rate down to 10 per cent, effectively giving corporations billions in subsidies. Instead of looking at cutbacks to frontline services, our government needs to re-examine its revenue structure.”

Smith was responding to the corporate-funded, right-wing think tank’s latest paper, entitled “Fumbling the Alberta Advantage: How Alberta Squandered a Decade of High Energy Prices.”

“Once again, the Fraser Institute tries to lay the blame for our current fiscal crisis on front-line public services and the workers who provide them. It’s a transparent attempt to misdirect taxpayers’ attention from the real issues,” he said.

Smith added, “the truth is, government employees’ salaries have been frozen for three of the last five years. Since 2010 they have seen their incomes go up six per cent, while the Alberta Average Weekly Earnings index has increased 20 per cent.”

He also pointed out, “for years, the government has been on a campaign to hand responsibility for public services over to the private sector, arguing that it’s a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Yet it’s never done a cost-benefit analysis of privatization to find out if that’s actually the case. All indications are that the only thing privatization does is add extra administrative and oversight costs. I challenge the government to show taxpayers otherwise.”

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