Posted on Feb 26, 2021
GREEN LINE IGNORED, CANCER CENTRE CUT IN BUDGET 2021
CALGARY - Premier Jason Kenney cut $132 million out of the Calgary Cancer Centre in Budget 2021, and pointedly failed to make a single mention of the Green Line.
“The UCP have provided no explanation about why or where the Calgary Cancer Centre money went - or how they will complete it with that much money missing from the budget,” said Shannon Phillips, NDP Finance Critic. “Albertans deserve some answers about what exactly is going on with this money.”
“Jason Kenney had a chance to create 20,000 jobs by approving the Green Line, but we got nothing but crickets from the UCP yesterday. This project would mean thousands of jobs for unemployed tradespeople in Calgary, but the UCP have turned their backs on them.
“The Green Line will connect the downtown and help reinvigorate Calgary’s economic core. It’s a crucial piece of economic stimulus for Calgary and it’s just sitting on Ric McIver’s desk in Edmonton as part of some sort of political game to appease the Premier’s financial backers. We were hoping for a plan that would get Calgarians back to work and lay out a vision for the city’s future. But instead, Jason Kenney also made municipal cuts that will lead to the loss of construction jobs.”
Energy critic Kathleen Ganley noted the lack of a long-term energy sector plan in Budget 2021.
“We are going through an unprecedented restructuring in oil and gas and that has had tremendous impacts in Calgary and the downtown core,” Ganley said. “We lost 2,000 jobs in the city from the Husky-cenovus merger alone. Albertans working in oil and gas needed to see a long-term plan for jobs in the industry from Jason Kenney. Instead, what they saw was the consequences of his short-term thinking.
“Last year, Jason Kenney made a big bet on Donald Trump’s reelection by risking taxpayers’ money on the Keystone XL pipeline at a time when everyone advised against it. When President Biden cancelled the permit for KXL, as he promised he would, no-one was surprised except for Jason Kenney. Now, Albertans are paying for it.
“Budget 2021 shows that not only will Albertans likely lose the entirety of the $1.5-billion dollar equity investment, we have already booked almost $900 million dollars in loan guarantees. That’s $2.4 billion in lost revenue, money that would have been better invested in energy projects in Alberta, such as local upgrading, renewables, or in hydrogen and geothermal.
“There is nothing here for energy workers, just more money for embarrassing war rooms and expensive inquiries,” Ganley said.
Justice Critic Irfan Sabir also noted the cuts to Alberta’s police, courts, and corrections.
“For a premier who likes to talk about the rule of law, Jason Kenney has taken away resources from the hard-working Albertans that we ask to enforce those laws in the real world. He’s cut the funding for the police units who investigate gangs and serious crimes, he’s cut the sheriffs branch, he’s cut resources away from Alberta’s corrections officers who are already working under tremendous pressure in dangerous conditions during the COVID pandemic.
“Jason Kenney has made significant cuts to our Crown prosecution service, provincial court, Court of Queen’s Bench, and Court of Appeal. I am very concerned that these cuts will mean more bottlenecks, more delays and fundamentally less access to justice for Calgarians.
“It’s also very disappointing that Jason Kenney is continuing to divert money that was intended to help victims of crime and using that money for other purposes. Many Calgarians have reached out to me and to my office saying that they have applied for help but nothing is happening.
“It’s clear in this budget that public safety simply is not a priority for Jason Kenney.”