In May 2019, the government of Alberta struck a Blue Ribbon Panel to review Alberta’s finances and recommend a plan to balance the budget -- only looking at the expenditure side of the equation. The panel released their report on September 3 and it is disastrous for the public services that all Albertans need and rely on.
Like Ralph Klein before them, government officials are repeating the talking point “Alberta has a spending problem” to justify making extreme cuts to public services and infrastructure.
The truth is, Alberta has a revenue problem. Due to decades of insufficient taxation and overreliance on resource revenues, there is a shortfall of up to $14.1 billion dollars annually in the province, which could be easily solved with the tax system of any other province.
The panel is recommending cuts of over 14% in all areas of government spending over the next four years when we consider population growth and inflation.
Public services need to be strengthened, not cut, especially in times of economic uncertainty and precarity. Albertans deserve to know if they get sick, they’ll get high-quality medical care and that their children will have the opportunity to develop their full potential in classrooms that are a reasonable size and have appropriate resources and supports. Alberta parents need access to high-quality, affordable, and accessible child care. We won’t give up the fight for our public services.
As printed in the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald