Posted on Mar 25, 2021
UCP BUDGET PASSED WITH NO SUPPORT FOR JOBS
EDMONTON - The UCP government has passed Budget 2021, that fails to deliver a plan to create jobs, diversify Alberta’s economy, or specify how it will spend billions of dollars in contingency funding.
Budget 2021’s signature Alberta Jobs Now strategy commits the government to getting $62 million out the door in the next four business days, but the program has yet to be launched. And while the budget promises “sector strategies,” they remain under construction with no estimate for additional job creation.
“Budget 2021 is a blueprint for failure,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “There is no plan to diversify the economy or create jobs.”
The budget also fails to provide a credible plan to diversify Alberta’s economy, instead relying on the UCP’s corporate tax handout and a so-called recovery plan from almost a year ago.
Instead, the budget represents a real-world cut of $690 million, or 22.6 per cent, in direct support to post-secondary institutions, along with 1,450 full-time equivalents, when compared to the previous government. A recent study found that the University of Calgary contributes $16.5 billion in economic activity to Alberta's economy annually and is a major driver of innovation and long-term job creation.
The budget also proposes mass layoffs in the public sector, including 11,000 frontline healthcare workers and 750 nurses once the pandemic is over.
“Jason Kenney accelerated his no-jobs corporate giveaway, and asked regular Albertans to pay for it,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips. “It’s clear that Kenney is out of ideas, and is doubling down on his failed economic strategy that saw Alberta lose 50,000 jobs pre-pandemic.”
“As we come out of this pandemic, Albertans wanted to see a plan that would support small business and drive innovation in our economy,” added Phillips. “Instead we got a budget that guts Alberta’s post-secondary education system, doubles down on the UCP’s plan to fire frontline heroes, and leaves small businesses struggling to survive.”