Media releases | January 11, 2018
EDMONTON - Public Interest Alberta is attending a Government of Alberta consultation regarding the 2018 provincial budget in order to encourage major changes in the province’s approach to revenue and spending.

“Budget 2018 must move Alberta forward, not back,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “That means investing in the revitalization of Alberta’s public services, rather than making piecemeal cuts that would marginally reduce the deficit while further undermining public services.”

French pointed to the “Alberta Tax Advantage” graph on Alberta Treasury Board and Finance’s website, which in effect shows that if Alberta were to adopt the tax system of any other Canadian province, it would bring in at least $8.7 billion per year in additional revenue.

“Our tax system is, by far, the worst in the country at raising revenue to pay for the public services Albertans need and rely on every day,” continued French. “If we changed our tax system to raise sufficient revenue, we could afford to improve classroom conditions in our schools, reduce wait times in health care and seniors’ care, and provide sufficient supports for our most vulnerable citizens. It is up to government to lead that conversation with Albertans, in order to deal fairly with the deficit and at the same time strengthen our public services.”

French offered two specific suggestions where government could invest in public services more efficiently.

“Public subsidies for private schools must be phased out and the funding reallocated to make much-needed improvements in classroom conditions in our Public, Catholic, and Francophone school systems,” said French. “In seniors’ care, the government should reverse the regressive policy of privatization of continuing care by previous governments. It should begin by phasing out privately-owned residential care facilities and instead invest in Alberta’s future by operating them through the public system. The recent Alberta Health Services purchase of the continuing care facility in Hinton is an excellent start and sets the government on a positive path that it should expand across the province in coming years.”
For media inquiries, please contact:
Joel French, Executive Director
Phone: (780) 420-0471