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Budget rips $1 billion dollars away from front-line pandemic heroes

UCP government making Alberta workers pay for continuing gifts to corporate friends

Feb 25, 2021

UCP making Alberta workers pay for continuing gifts to corporations

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EDMONTON – Jason Kenney has chosen to hurt Albertans just when they need help the most, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) following the release of the UCP Government’s budget.

“Every budget is a choice,” says Guy Smith, president of AUPE, which represents more than 94,000 working Albertans. “What we see today is that Kenney chose his corporate friends over Albertans. He’s taking money from Albertans’ pockets and firing front-line workers so he can continue his massive corporate giveaways.”

Compensation for public-sector workers — including core government employees, workers in health care, employees of government boards and agencies, and workers in education and post-secondary education institutions — will be cut by more than $1.005 billion by 2023-24 from 2019 levels.

Finance Minister Travis Toews told the Legislature that the government will reduce the size of Alberta’s public service by about 7.7 per cent over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23. That includes 750 post-secondary jobs and 311 Government of Alberta jobs.

Meanwhile, corporate tax cuts continue to cost billions of dollars and the risky investment and loan guarantee to TC Energy for the failed Keystone XL pipeline is forecast to cost $1.276 billion.

“What Albertans want is to see how this government plans to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will create new jobs. Nothing else matters right now,” says Smith.

“What we have instead is the continuation of massive corporate tax giveaways that are costing billions of dollars, and have failed to create jobs, and continuing cuts to the jobs and wages on the front-line workers who are getting us through this crisis. Meanwhile, the government will continue with plans to hand over public assets to corporations.”

Smith adds: “The UCP has been spreading the lie that our public services cost too much and that our workers are overpaid. Alberta’s per-person spending on compensation for government employees is near the bottom of the pack in Canada. For example, Saskatchewan residents pay about $300 more than Albertans for government workers.

“This government is failing because it refuses to listen to Albertans. We have seen that with its approach to mining in the Rockies, to our parks, to MLAs taking tropical vacations. Kenney and his team are out of touch. This government reacts only when Albertans speak up and fight back. That’s what our members are preparing to do.”

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AUPE President Guy Smith is at the Legislature steps at 3:15 p.m. for physically distanced in-person commentary on the budget.

To schedule a telephone or online interview with President Smith, please contact: Alexander Delorme, AUPE communications officer: 780-264-9274 or a.delorme@aupe.org

 

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