Posted on Feb 24, 2021
UCP MUST REVERSE CUTS AND PRESENT A PLAN TO CREATE JOBS, GROW THE ECONOMY IN SPRING BUDGET: NDP
EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP are calling for a reversal of the UCP’s cuts ahead of Thursday’s budget and use it as an opportunity to make real investments in healthcare and economic diversification.
Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly promised to invest in health care and an economic recovery in this year’s budget despite his record of cuts in both areas since forming government.
“This may be one of the most important budgets we’ve seen in decades as families, workers, and small businesses are hurting due to the global pandemic,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips. “If Jason Kenney and the UCP are serious about protecting Albertans’ health during the pandemic and recovering our economy, they’ll reverse any cuts they’ve made or are still planning to make.”
After Finance Minister Travis Toews declared economic diversification a “luxury” in his first budget, the UCP made drastic cuts to economic diversification programs in order to pay for their corporate tax cut.
The UCP government doubled down on this strategy in the middle of the pandemic by accelerating the tax cut and betting up to $7.5 billion on Keystone XL. However, Keystone XL has been blocked by the US government and the corporate tax cut has failed to produce the results promised by the UCP.
“The last thing Albertans heard about an economic recovery from Jason Kenney and the UCP was their failed bet on KXL. That’s it, that’s all they had,” said Phillips. “Albertans desperately need this government to show up tomorrow with a real plan to get people back to work, grow and diversify our economy, and protect our health care.”
Alberta’s economic situation has been made worse by the UCP’s mishandling of the pandemic as they failed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and pushed the healthcare system to the brink in December. Alberta now faces the second highest unemployment rate and is forecasted to have one of the slowest post-pandemic recoveries in the country.