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AUPE Media Release: Government budget plans put public services in peril

AUPE members and all Albertans deserve more than what Premier Smith delivered in her government’s second budget.

Feb 29, 2024

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EDMONTON—Premier Danielle Smith’s 2024 budget intentionally makes life worse for ordinary Albertans and the public services they rely on, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).

“This should have been a good-news budget, but Premier Smith decided it should not be,” says AUPE President Guy Smith.

“The premier has $6.4 billion in surplus funds she should invest into Alberta’s neglected public services and crumbling infrastructure, but she chose not to. Instead, Albertans will wait longer for critical health and social services, educational supports, court services, and wildfire response times because Premier Smith made that choice for them.”

Over 82,000 AUPE members enter collective bargaining this year, most of whom work for the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. These workers plan to fight for better working conditions whether the government budgets for it or not.

“The demands we make in collective bargaining will not be determined in advance by what the government budgets,” says Smith. “With this surplus, the premier could have easily given public sector workers what they need and deserve. Instead, she chose a fight.”

Budget 2024 is the first step in Premier Smith’s new plan to drastically reduce investments into Alberta’s public services, first announced during her televised address on Feb. 21, 2024. In this address, the premier explicitly stated her government will not fund what is needed to support Alberta’s growing population nor the demands imposed by inflation. Budget 2024 confirms this, falling short of properly funding services by approximately $3.65 billion, an amount that is easily covered by the government’s reported surplus.

"The premier says her government will deliberately underfund the services Albertans depend on, even in boom years, which includes 2024,” says Smith. “Maintaining crisis-level staff shortages is not my idea of progress.”

With this lack of investment and care commonplace throughout Budget 2024, Albertans will suffer because of this government’s ideological agenda.

“The premier can spin this budget however she likes,” says Smith. “That won’t change the fact Albertans will suffer because of the choices her government made today.”


President Smith is available for comment.

To arrange an interview, please contact:

Alexander Delorme, AUPE Communications Officer: or 780-264-9274

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