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But Roller Coasters Are Fun!

Will the Party Platforms End Fiscal Volatility in Alberta?

One of the key promises made during this election by both the NDP and the UCP has been to get Alberta off the resource revenue roller coaster, reduce volatility, and bring fiscal stability to the province. In essence, what the parties are promising is that, under their watch, adequate funding for the services and infrastructure Albertans rely upon will no longer depend on the global price of oil and gas. This is an important and laudable goal. The question is whether the suite of policy planks being put forward by either of the two contenders will actually help achieve the promised stability.

Hate to Say I Told You So, But…

Laboratory Services as the Canary in the Privatization Coal Mine

From the decision to cancel the Edmonton Hub Lab to the handout of services to DynaLIFE to unacceptable wait times for routine community collections, the handling of medical lab services by the UCP government has been a litany of entirely predictable disasters. Worse still: rather than the product of mistakes, these disasters are the inevitable result of deliberate policy choices on the part of the UCP. With the days of this election campaign ticking down, the contending parties are not talking about labs. But they should—and should, for a change, listen to what lab workers have to say. 

Subsidizing Profit

UCP Quietly Changes Rules for Post-Secondary Funding

On March 30, via an Order in Council, the provincial government made an important policy change in the area of post-secondary funding: for the first time anywhere in Canada, the UCP has made it possible for a private for-profit educational institution to receive public dollars. This decision — made with no public discussion and no debate in the Alberta legislature — hurts affordability, damages accessibility, and is a direct subsidy of private profiteering.

At a time when many families are struggling to pay their bills, the party that wins Alberta’s 2023 election could lend support to minimum-wage workers by immediately raising the minimum wage and then indexing the minimum wage to increase each year in line with inflation.

Whose Future?

What the Alberta Budget Says About the UCP’s Priorities Pre-Election

A deeper reading of Budget 2023 suggests that multiple futures are being claimed and contested: political and electoral futures, as well as ideological and existential ones. How each of these future battles is playing out matters significantly for Alberta’s future, not least in the unanswered question: “Whose future?”  In this article, Parkland Institute’s research managers Ian Hussey and Rebecca Graff-McRae break down the possible futures at stake in the lead-up to the spring election and its political aftermath.

While most Canadians are acutely aware of how home prices and rents have skyrocketed in the last 15 years or so, few are aware of the restructuring of farmland ownership occurring in rural areas.  Since 2014, we’ve been studying changing land tenure patterns in the Prairies, where 70 per cent of Canada’s agricultural land is situated. Our research reveals three major trends — ongoing farm consolidation, increasing land concentration and expanding investor ownership of farmland — leading to growing land inequality.

After months of delays, the official handover of community laboratory services from Alberta Precision Laboratories to DynaLIFE  took place on December 5. With that, the political tug-of-war within and over Alberta’s medical laboratory system enters yet another round, but Albertans are the ones who will lose out. This op-ed appeared in the Edmonton Journal on December 16, 2022.

Better Way Alberta

Parkland Contributes Research to Provincewide Initiative

Recently Parkland Institute had the opportunity to work with our friends at the Alberta Federation of Labour, Public Interest Alberta, and Friends of Medicare on a campaign called Better Way Alberta. We have produced five short research reports that included clear, implementable, and evidence-based policy recommendations on areas of public policy that are of critical importance today.

What Was She Thinking?

A Glimpse Into Danielle Smith’s Mind

The most in-depth glimpse into Premier Smith’s thinking on a range of critical public policy issues is contained in a 20-page paper entitled “Alberta’s Key Challenges and Opportunities.” Smith’s paper was published in June 2021, before oil and gas prices rose and substantially changed the province’s fiscal outlook. In this blog, Robert Ascah outlines and analyzes her fiscal policy ideas and health-care proposals.

Alberta’s new premier Danielle Smith is taking the reins of government at a time when many families are struggling to pay their bills. Inflation is high. The wages of many Albertans are not keeping up. Alberta’s minimum wage has been frozen at $15 since October 1, 2018. Premier Smith could give minimum-wage workers a hand up during these difficult times by raising the minimum wage. The UCP government should also legislate annual increases to the minimum wage that align with the annual rate of inflation.

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