2017 Budget is About Making The Lives Of Albertans Better

Joe Ceci, MLA Calgary-Fort

That means creating and protecting jobs, investing in long-overdue repairs and modernizations of our schools and hospitals, and making critical improvements to our roads and highways.

It also means making things more affordable for everyday families, keeping taxes on Albertans the lowest in Canada, and bringing the deficit down, thoughtfully and prudently.

Alberta‘s economy is stabilizing and jobs are returning. Now is not the time to let our steady hand waver. As our economy recovers, we will continue to bring the deficit down to balance, and we will do so without sacrificing the supports and services families need.

Now is not the time to make parents pay sky-high school fees.

What are those supports and services? We are making life more affordable with a 25% reduction in school fees, saving families over $50 million.

We are making education in Alberta better by building 26 badly needed new schools to replace aging and overcrowded schools across Alberta.

We are investing in long-overdue modernizations of hospitals and health centres across Alberta, and significant new measures to increase homecare supports, helping seniors and our loved ones live in their homes longer and safer. 

We are helping all Albertans by building bridges, overpasses and interchanges, as well as making sure our highways are modern and get people and goods where they need to be safely and efficiently.

And we are continuing to do what previous governments couldn’t and get a new pipeline built to the Canadian coast - the best way for our worldclass energy producers to sell our resources at world-class prices.

All the while, this Budget maintains Alberta‘s $8.7 billion tax advantage over every other Canadian province.

Some say that we shouldn’t be creating these jobs and making these necessary improvements to hospitals, schools and highways.

We disagree. Now is not the time to cut billions of dollars worth of services people need and put more Albertans out of work.

Now is not the time to make parents pay sky-high school fees.

Now is not the time to cram our classrooms with as many kids as possible. Now is not the time to put our historic pipeline approvals in jeopardy.

Reckless cuts to essential public services didn’t help families when former governments responded to economic downturns that way, and it sure wouldn’t help families now.

Alberta's economy is expected to grow by 2.6 per cent this year, the highest economic growth rate in Canada. That estimate is more cautious than some, such as the Conference Board of Canada’s, that predict economic growth of 2.8 per cent.

Budget 2017 keeps that growth going, while maintaining a prudent and balanced approach to reducing the deficit. We are reducing the cost of government by working with the doctors to find savings in health care, and cutting the salaries and perks of highly-paid CEOs of government agencies, boards and commissions.

We are creating jobs, protecting services and making life more affordable for all Albertans. In short, Budget 2017 helps regular people, and in doing so it makes life better for Albertans.

First published in the Swan Hills Grizzly Gazette March 28, 2017.