EDMONTON—The Speech from the Throne was delivered today by Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Lois Mitchell. It pledged to protect health care and education in the face of the government’s severe revenue shortage.
“The government deserves credit for resisting calls for cuts to health care and education, but it also needs to remember that the status quo it is protecting is inadequate,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Wait times for long-term care are still far too long, school classrooms are still bursting at the seams, and childcare is either not available or is far too expensive for many Alberta families."
The Speech made no mention of the Government's promise to boost childcare funding by $75 million in the coming budget to move towards $25/day child care in Alberta. "While the launch of the Ministry for the Status of Women has prioritized tackling gender inequality, it is deeply concerning for there to be no mention of the Government's promise of boosting child care funding in the coming budget," continued French. "The lack of available and affordable child care in Alberta is one of the biggest barriers for women wanting to fully participate in the workforce."
The Throne Speech also committed to revisit the province’s fiscal plan, given the continued slump in the price of oil. “It is clear that Alberta can no longer rely on resource revenues to protect our health care, education, and other front-line services,” said French. “While in the short-term those services are rightly being protected, we need a long-term solution that addresses our province's massive revenue shortage.”