EDMONTON - The Alberta Throne Speech was delivered today, and it contained several problematic or misleading statements related to public services and spending, including that the government plans to “protect front-line services” by maintaining or increasing spending on core services “to record high levels.”
“The Alberta government knows full well that its budget will mean that cuts to front-line public services will continue,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Health care professionals and front-line workers in our education and post-secondary education systems are already being laid off, and there is no indication that direction will change in the upcoming budget. Alberta families will feel these cuts through higher out of pocket costs in our health care and seniors’ care system, as well as larger class sizes, fewer classroom supports, and poorly-maintained infrastructure in our schools and post-secondary institutions.”
Following the lead of the MacKinnon report, the government continues to base its spending analysis and decision-making solely on overall per capita spending levels.
“By cherry-picking a spending measure that suits their agenda, the government is misleading Albertans to justify their cuts,” said French. “The government’s spin ignores the fact that Alberta wages across sectors are higher overall than any other province, that the cost of living continues to increase for Albertans every year, and that our population continues to grow. By ignoring these factors, the government is taking an irresponsible approach to our public services that will lead to higher costs and poorer outcomes for Albertans who rely on them.”
The speech also highlighted the government’s plan to continue cutting the corporate income tax.
“The government is truly showing where its priorities are; rather than prioritizing the public services we all rely on, they are continuing their massive giveaway to large corporations and their already-wealthy shareholders spread across the country and around the globe,” added French. “At a time when Alberta is desperately short of tax revenue, it is astounding they are continuing with this handout to make the rich even richer.”