Media releases | February 29, 2024

EDMONTON - “For the third year in a row, the budget is balanced — on the backs of Albertans,” said Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director Bradley Lafortune. “Don’t fall for their spin. This is an austerity budget, plain and simple. The UCP are ignoring the needs of Albertans to continue their disastrous record of cuts, chaos and privatization.”

“The $6.4 billion in surplus funds could have been used to make the lives of everyday Albertans better,” said Lafortune. “But the premier would rather make the UCP’s corporate backers happy than improve the public services Albertans need and rely on, or treat workers who provide them fairly. The Smith government refuses to backfill the massive holes they’ve blasted into the budgets of our education and health system.”

“Smith and the UCP have once again failed miserably to grapple with the urgency of the moment,” Lafortune said. “We are facing a cost-of-living crisis and a housing emergency. The budget is a fantasy plan for saving for a better tomorrow, but it begs the question: what are struggling Albertans supposed to do today?”

“Initial estimates are showing that services are continuing to be starved by over $3.5 billion,” said Lafortune. “With the recent healthcare hiring freeze and ongoing staffing at crisis levels, the UCP seem hellbent on enacting the well-worn playbook of austerity —- starve the public service of funding and resources, then introduce private “solutions” — all for the benefit of wealthy shareholders and CEOs.” 

“Yet again, this budget is leaving Albertans behind,” said Lafortune. “Albertans deserve better than this callous disregard from our government.”