Alberta budget a disappointment for workers


February 27, 2020 – 12:00 AM

EDMONTON—The Kenney government’s continued pursuit of a balanced budget at any cost will continue to harm workers and their families, says Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.

“The speed at which Jason Kenney wants to balance the budget is purely ideological and will do significant harm to Alberta’s most vulnerable,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “There is simply no economic reason whatsoever to cut funding to schools and hospitals as Premier Kenney insists.”

“Alberta’s families depend on public services, but Jason Kenney’s biggest donors depend on corporate tax cuts,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Premier Kenney has delivered another ideological budget that will exacerbate Alberta’s social and economic challenges.”

The United Conservative Party government’s second budget maintains the social program cuts announced in October 2019 and also holds the line on huge corporate tax cuts despite ongoing job losses. Alberta has lost nearly 50,000 full-time jobs under Kenney, and Unifor believes public sector cuts in today’s budget will grow that figure.

“Tax cuts haven’t worked. Education cuts make matters worse. When will this government realize that Albertans are not lab rats for experiments in austerity?” said McGarrigle.

McGarrigle says the provincial government’s revenue projections are so optimistic that they likely mask future budget cuts. “The Kenney government is betting the future of Alberta on fantastical revenue projections that are unlikely to materialize—and Kenney will make Albertans pay,” said McGarrigle.