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Alberta Budget 2021

Tax Giveaways for Corporations, Service Cuts for Albertans

The compounded impact of years of cuts will be catastrophic. The United Conservative government is cutting or privatizing services that Albertans rely on in order to pay for their 33 per cent tax giveaway to large profitable corporations and for their mistakes of cancelling the crude-by-rail contracts and gambling on Keystone XL. On par with Premier Klein’s massive cuts in the late 1990s, the result will be deep structural changes and a legacy of lasting damage. 

From 1976-2016, Alberta lost 34 per cent of its farms, and fewer and fewer people now control more and more of the land base. In 2016, 40 per cent of farmland in Alberta was controlled by just six per cent of farms. This kind of information is vital as researchers keep track of the changing patterns of tenure across the province. Alberta government's privatization of land titles means higher service fees are likely and less accessibility for researchers to study Alberta's 50 million acres of farmland.

Ever since U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, Premier Jason Kenney and others continue to spread misinformation about KXL, the oil sands industry and the energy transition. Ian Hussey takes a look at oil sands operations and pipelines, the energy transition and possibilities for economic diversification in Alberta.

 

A group of hand-picked UCP insiders are asserting political control over post-secondary institutions. Laurie Adkin, Michael Lang and Mark Shakespear outline the government's five overlapping strategies and the effects on the University of Alberta. 

This is the second of two blog posts examining Bill 47. This post focuses on changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act. These changes save employers money by reducing the likelihood of injured workers receiving benefits and reducing the value of those benefits. Bill 47 also makes it harder for workers to appeal decisions and reduces the likelihood of returning to their job once recovered.

Alberta’s United Conservative government recently introduced Bill 47 (Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020). The bill makes substantial changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act and represents a rollback of workers’ safety protections. This is the first of two blog posts examining Bill 47. This post focuses on changes to the OHS Act that, if passed, will come into effect Sept. 1, 2021.

Last week a report was published by the Parkland Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The Canadian Energy Centre (aka Premier Jason Kenney’s “War Room”) took exception to the report and wrote a hit piece designed to discredit it. The article is a classic propaganda exercise in erecting straw men and spreading disinformation.

Alberta's health minister announced plans to cut 11,000 Alberta Health Services jobs in laboratory services, medical laundry, housekeeping and food services. These front-line workers ensure testing and sanitation under the most challenging conditions, especially during a pandemic. Research manager Rebecca Graff-McRae responds to the provincial government's Oct. 13 announcement.

Alberta’s minimum wage should be a living wage, especially during a pandemic. October 1 marks the second straight year that Alberta’s United Conservative government has not increased the provincial minimum wage, meaning the wages of almost 300,000 workers are losing value against consumer price inflation.

 

This government does have a plan for our health care and it is one that will serve corporate interests instead of the public interest. Zooming in on the UCP’s health omnibus Bill 30 provides crucial pieces in the puzzle of the UCP privatization agenda. This is part one of a series of blog posts about the privatization of health care in Alberta.

 

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