Media releases | January 18, 2012

EDMONTON—Edmonton, a new book by Kevin Taft and a short video by Tom Radford called Follow the Money were released today at the Garneau Theatre in Edmonton.“Like most Albertans, I have been questioning why, in one of the richest places on earth, we are struggling to provide the crucial public services Albertans want and need,” said Kevin Taft, retiring MLA and former leader of the Alberta Liberal party. “So, with the help of Mel McMillan, former chair of the Department of Economics at the U of A, and Junaid Jahangir, a PhD student in Economics, I delved into the statistics to search out where Alberta’s wealth was actually going.”“The book reveals that the costs of Alberta's public services are not spiraling out of control like some people want Albertans to believe. When the costs of public service spending is adjusted to account for the growth of Alberta's population and for inflation, long term spending is rising at less than 2% annually, and is just keeping pace with the national average.”“Rather, when you follow the money, you find our public wealth is going to incredible private profits,” Taft continues. “The statistics show that corporate profits in Alberta were three times the size of the average of all other provinces. While corporate profits have increased by 317% from 1989 - 2009 (adjusted for inflation and population growth) the heritage fund lost 35% of its value over the same time period.”“As Kevin Taft’s research shows, the problem is not overspending on public services; the real problem is that years of unjustified tax and royalty giveaways to incredibly profitable corporations have blown a hole in our provincial revenues,” said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour . “We want to make this book and film available as the first part of a larger campaign to spark a long-overdue debate about fixing the hole in our revenue system.”“After reading this book, Albertans should feel very indignant that we are constantly being told we need to accept overstretched public services, continuing cuts to post-secondary education and inadequate care for seniors and people with disabilities,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “However, Albertans need to do more than just get angry --we need to start thinking like owners of resources and to challenge all of the political parties to represent the interest of all of our citizens, not just corporations.”-30-Media Contacts:
Gil McGowan (780) 218-9888
Bill Moore-Kilgannon (780) 993-3736