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‘What’s Left?’ after historic provincial, federal elections

Parkland Institute conference – November 20-22, University of Alberta

Some of Canada’s leading academics, public policy experts, media commentators, and activists will gather on the University of Alberta campus this weekend for Parkland Institute’s 19th annual fall conference.


A recent poll reports that 43 per cent of Albertans disapprove of the NDP government’s budget announcing a $6.1 billion deficit for 2015-16. At the same time, 55 per cent do not want cuts to capital spending and 49 per cent approve of the government’s plan to increase capital spending.

The University of Alberta-based Parkland Institute and its partner groups in BC and Saskatchewan have been awarded a multimillion dollar grant to examine the corporations and individuals driving fossil fuel extraction in Western Canada, and their resulting political influence.

Alberta government faces hard math in Tuesday’s budget

New report finds budget woes deeper than commonly thought

A new report released today by Parkland Institute finds that the new NDP government has been left with a bleak fiscal reality as it prepares to table its first full budget on Tuesday, with a budget shortfall that could be twice as large as is commonly understood.

I interviewed Stephen Harper in the fall of 1991 as part of my doctoral research into the Reform party. Of all the things he said at that time, the comment that has stuck most with me was that it was undesirable for a governing party to garner more than optimum electoral support; beyond that meant it owed too much to too many voters.

As students return to school across Alberta today, thousands of teens will again be juggling their time between education and employment. But a new report released today by Parkland Institute warns that many Alberta teens are working in prohibited occupations or face unsafe workplaces, and that the provincial government has failed to effectively enforce the employment regulations in place to protect them.

Canada’s premiers agreed to a master energy and climate change plan July 17. It’s specific on fast-tracking pipelines, but “aspirational” on climate action.

Any proposal to increase the minimum wage by any amount in any province or territory seems to be met with dire warnings of massive job losses and impending economic doom. The problem for critics of the minimum wage is, neither history nor academic research backs these notions up.

More questions than answers in social services delivery

Greater balance needed between public sector and non-profits

The Alberta government should reverse decades of failed experimentation in the delivery of critical social services in the province by re-establishing the proper balance between services delivered by Alberta Human Services and the province’s non-profit sector. A much-needed first step is to develop an accurate picture of the current relationship between the government and non-profits.

Ban on corporate, union donations to parties only a start

Comprehensive reform needed to take money out of Alberta politics

While the promise to ban corporate and union donations to political parties is a positive step in making much-needed changes to Alberta’s political finance laws, more comprehensive reform is necessary to remove the longstanding influence of money in provincial politics.

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