Posted on Aug 27, 2020
FISCAL UPDATE SHOWS UCP FAILING ALBERTANS
EDMONTON -- The UCP’s fiscal update shows their plan had nearly doubled the deficit while failing to create jobs or grow the economy even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The update shows that Alberta’s economy shrank by 0.6 per cent in 2019 and almost 50,000 full-time jobs between the UCP’s introduction of their $4.7 billion corporate handout and the beginning of the pandemic.
“The UCP’s plan was failing before the pandemic and it’s failing now. All they’ve managed to do is make a bad situation worse,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips. “While the UCP continues to give handouts to CEOs and shareholders, Albertans continue to fall further behind.”
Since the pandemic started, the UCP have doubled down on their corporate tax giveaway and introduced more cuts in this year’s budget, while also increasing taxes, fees, and premiums.
The UCP delayed the fiscal update longer than most governments across Canada but didn’t use the extra time to come up with a plan to support hard-hit Albertans through the recession and the ongoing pandemic.
“Today’s update has no plan for Calgary, it has no plan for getting people back to work, it has no plan for an economic recovery at all,” said Phillips.
Alberta’s unemployment rate now sits at 12.8 per cent - the second highest in the country - with over 300,000 Albertans unemployed.
The UCP government’s last two budgets also included a number of cuts to programs designed to diversify Alberta’s economy in the petrochemical, tech, film, artificial intelligence, and renewable energy industries.
“Jason Kenney promised Albertans jobs and investment, but he’s failed to deliver,” said Deron Bilous, NDP Critic for Jobs, Economy and Innovation. “Instead of more cuts to job creating programs and billions in handouts that go out of province, we need to be investing in building a modern, diversified economy that sets us up for a successful recovery.”
In addition to cuts to economic diversification, the UCP government reduced spending to education and failed to invest in childcare that is essential to rebuilding Alberta’s economy.
“If we want to give Albertans the ability to re-enter the workforce, we need to be investing in child care and safe school re-opening,” said Rakhi Pancholi, NDP Children’s Services Critic. “Child care must be a central pillar of our economy.”