In the wake of recent news surrounding government spending, Albertans are looking back at the promises made during the United Conservative Party (UCP)'s election campaign and feeling misled and even cheated according to posts on social media. Alberta's new budget report was released yesterday to guide the province on how to reduce government spending without raising taxes.
The report advises the government to reduce spending in the areas of health and education to balance Alberta’s budget in the coming years. Conversely, the UCP promised it would not make cuts in either area or raise taxes in order to fix budget concerns, according to CTV News.
The panel assembled to re-imagine the budget is chaired by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice Mackinnon and has been named the Blue Ribbon Panel. Some of the changes recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel include fewer hospitals and more clinics, fewer doctors and more nurse practitioners, and re-assessing the financial viability of Alberta’s post-secondary schools.
These are just a few of the changes impacting healthcare and education that the new budget recommends. One of the main initiatives to reduce government spending is the reduction of public sector salaries, i.e. doctors, nurses, teachers, etc, according to the report.
Individuals who work in the impacted sectors are expressing concern. Beyond healthcare and education workers, individuals who are affected by changes in these sectors (meaning anyone who uses healthcare or education) are speaking up, as well.
The MacKinnon report says that Alberta needs to reduce spending by $600 million each year to balance the budget by 2023-24 without raising taxes. People are worried about what this will look like and reflecting on some promises they don’t feel have been upheld by the UCP along the way.
With the rise of school fees and car insurance and the reduction of the minimum wage, some people are wondering how exactly Jason Kenney is “looking out for the little guy.”
Some Albertans are even raising eyebrows at the government employees who voted UCP.
Furthermore, some individuals are expressing frustration with the UCP placing blame for Alberta's current financial state on the former NDP government of Alberta.
One person even went as far as to offer Jason Kenney some advice on how to reduce government spending in the education sector.
We are all standing by, waiting for Alberta's finalized budget to be released in a few weeks. Though we can't predict what exactly the budget will look like, online conversations among Albertans confirm that people are concerned.