EDMONTON - With the release of the 2022 Provincial Budget, Public Interest Alberta is ringing the alarm on the UCP’s reckless agenda of cuts, deregulation, and privatization.
“The budget is balanced, but it is balanced on the backs of Albertans,” said PIA Executive Director Bradley Lafortune. “When Public Interest Alberta released our own budget priorities document, we had the audacity to hope for a budget that puts Albertans first. We called on the UCP to do something they’ve never done before: listen to everyday Albertans and prioritize their well-being over shareholder interests and corporate profits. Clearly, we were talking to a brick wall.”
“Times are incredibly hard for Albertans,” Lafortune continued. “Not only are we experiencing the economic shock of the second year of life under the pandemic, but now we are beginning to feel the squeeze of record-breaking inflation. Rather than use the opportunity afforded with a surplus to re-invest into Alberta’s future, this government continues to leave Albertans behind.”
Lafortune stressed his concerns with the UCP’s plans to introduce further privatization into the public education and healthcare system.
“Kenney and his ilk are working overtime to fragment our public services and hand them over to private hands,” said Lafortune. “Everyone, no matter their political stripes, opposes the Americanization of our prized education and healthcare systems. Profits have no place in caring for the sick or educating Alberta’s students.”
“The UCP is pouring money into charter schools – over $72 million. They’ve lifted the cap on these private schools masquerading as public schools and deregulated their creation so more can be brought in to destabilize the public system. With the Alberta Surgical Initiative, the Kenney government is handing over at least $133 million to line the pockets of for-profit operators. Simply put: this an egregious move to create a two-tiered society.”
Lafortune pointed to the lack of robust investment into the well-being of Albertans, including quality seniors’ care, accessible child care, and affordable housing.
“What we need is a just recovery for all,” said Lafortune. “With this $500 million surplus, where are the UCP’s commitments to the investments that will yield long-term benefits to Albertans? We need to see relief on utilities, massive reinvestment into affordable housing, education, post-secondary and a clear commitment to improving care for children and seniors in our province.”
“Budgets are about choices,” said Lafortune. “The UCP chose to put Albertans last.”