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Municipalities Getting an Unfair Deal from the Province

Sept. 22, 2021

Municipalities Getting An Unfair Deal from the Province
New Report shows impact of provincial budget cuts and policies prior to elections


Edmonton, Alberta – With Alberta’s municipal elections only a few weeks away, it’s important voters are aware of the impacts of the province’s decision to cut funding to municipalities so they can make informed decisions at the ballot box.

A new Parkland Institute report, An Unfair Deal? The Impact of Provincial Cuts on Alberta Municipalities, by Dr. Jacqueline Peterson examines the extensive impacts of the government’s policy decisions and budget cuts on municipal infrastructure and service provision. The province’s impact on municipal services and infrastructure is shaped by four key dynamics:

  • The lack of meaningful provincial collaboration with – or understanding of – municipalities limits effective policy response.
  • Failure to leverage federal funding
  • Adverse impacts of funding delays
  • Provincial policy changes and budgetary decisions have place-based ramifications.

“As a result of these dynamics, municipalities are forced to consider increasing taxes, cutting jobs and services, and delaying critical pieces of infrastructure,” said Peterson. “It is clear that for municipalities to more effectively tackle the complex urban issues of the 21st century and compete for investment and talent on the global stage, municipalities need new fiscal tools and a reformed relationship with the Government of Alberta.”

Understanding the close link between provincial budget decisions and municipal expenditures will improve voters’ ability to hold elected representatives (both provincial and municipal) accountable for their policy decisions and, as a result, increase political responsiveness.

As Albertans get ready to vote in the Oct. 18 election, it’s important to understand the scale of the budget cuts and the implications for their municipalities, particularly the cities of Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. This report includes strategies for municipal voters to wield their votes most effectively to advance the changes they want to see in their communities.

If you’d like to arrange an interview, contact:

Sarah Pratt, Parkland Institute communications co-ordinator
[email protected]

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