Posted on Nov 5, 2020
SCATHING AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT, ATTACKS ON INJURED WORKERS: STATEMENTS BY RACHEL NOTLEY
EDMONTON – Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley issued the following statements in response to today’s report by the Auditor General of Alberta, and Bill 47 tabled by the UCP Government.
“Today’s Auditor General report is a scathing indictment of Jason Kenney’s fiscal mismanagement. It shows Jason Kenney’s propensity to mislead, obfuscate, and hide the truth from Albertans,” said Notley. “Jason Kenney is also making cruel and unnecessary cuts attacks on injured workers and their supports with Bill 47 and carving a clear path toward American-style healthcare with Bill 46.”
Keystone XL Audit:
“Jason Kenney made a $7.5 billion dollar bet on Donald Trump winning the White House, and never released any details. Today, we found out that he wasn’t telling Albertans the truth about it. Initially, the Minister of Finance Travis Toews said the $1.5 billion equity stake wouldn’t start to flow until the middle of the year. Today, we discovered that was a lie.
“In the Auditor General’s report, we found out that Albertans were paying into the project long before the construction ever began. It would seem the Minister deliberately hid a $100 million payout to TC Energy. But what’s truly concerning is the date when the loan guarantee kicks in.
Jason Kenney kept telling Albertans that the $6-billion loan guarantee wouldn't come into effect until next year’s construction season but according to the Auditor General’s report, the loan guarantee takes effect on January 1, 2021, well before the beginning of the construction season. For all we know, the fate of the US Presidency may still be before the courts at that time.
“This substantially increases the risk for an already risky deal and shows that Jason Kenney has been misleading Albertans the whole time.
Once again, we are calling on Jason Kenney and his UCP government to release the details of the Keystone XL deal so Albertans can assess the risk for themselves.”
Canadian Energy Centre Audit:
“The Auditor General’s report proves that Jason Kenney’s war room is a great, big boondoggle. During it’s first fiscal period, external contractors accounted for about $1.3 million of the organization’s $2 million of operating expenses. And according to the Auditor General, the UCP war room used sole-sourcing as the primary method of solicitation for securing services. The majority of sole-source contracts examined by the Auditor General lacked sufficient documentation to provide justification for sole sourcing. The fact that the war room did not demonstrate qualifications of contractors explains why they’re now on the third logo...at taxpayers’ expense.
“We were always concerned the war room would be a secret vessel to flow money to UCP friends and insiders. Today, we’ve learned it could have been run better by Mickey Mouse. This government created a black hole run by a UCP partisan to spend Alberta taxpayers’ money with no public oversight. Taxpayers are getting no value from the war room, in fact, they’re incompetence is hurting our international reputation and threatening investment in our energy sector. Because of the very reasonable concerns raised by the Auditor General, I’m calling on Jason Kenney to release all names and all details of who received money through the war room slush fund and shut it down immediately.”
“When it comes to crude-by-rail, the Auditor General found that Jason Kenney failed to account for the economic substance of eleven crude-by-rail contracts. This, after he told Albertans he had divested all of them. As a result of ripping up our contracts, which, to be clear, were validated by private sector experts as economically viable and profitable for Albertans, Jason Kenney lost $2.1 billion dollars of Albertans money, far more than he originally disclosed.”
“Jason Kenney’s is engaged in a cruel attack on disabled Albertans. This audit confirms our fear that the UCP cut AISH benefits to 70,000 disabled Albertans in order to fudge their books. By delaying payments to AISH Jason Kenney and the UCP forced disabled Albertans to pay NSF fees, miss their rent payments, not buy transit passes, face potential utility cutoffs and delay buying groceries. In order to cook his books for a headline, Jason Kenney was willing to let Albertans on AISH starve.”
Bill 47, Labour Legislation:
“While we are still evaluating the changes to OHS, the WCB changes are extremely concerning. Injured workers will receive less compensation and benefits, and experience more hardship. There are a host of new caps and benefit reductions that will mean workers on WCB will get LESS.
“They are capping maximum insurable earnings. This means if an Albertan who earns a high income in a dangerous job, which is not uncommon in oil and gas, is injured, they will receive less compensation than they are entitled to today. The UCP is also removing presumptive coverage for psychological injuries where workers experienced a traumatic event, limiting it to only a select few occupations. The fact is, traumatic events that cause psychological injuries are possible in any workplace or occupation. Under the UCP's bill, if a social worker and a police officer both respond to the death of a child, the police officer would be covered and the social worker would not be.
“When our worker’s compensation system fails workers, it ruins lives. People lose everything they own. They suffer years of stress and hardship. And they almost never come back into the workforce in the same way. We will be fighting this bill on behalf of Alberta workers.”