Editor of the Pipestone Flyer, Shaela Dansereau

Editor of the Pipestone Flyer, Shaela Dansereau

A letter to Jason Kenney

Opinion: Dansereau

Dear Jason Kenney,

In the middle of a pandemic you are moving towards privatizing sectors of Alberta’s Health Care industry because you say that’s what the province needs to save spending and aid in the balancing of the budget.

In your time as Premier you have handicapped the K-12 educational system with your cuts to funding, significantly reducing staff—especially educational assistants while class sizes rise; not to mention the lack of supports for the school systems during a pandemic where it is near impossible to maintain the proper cleaning and distancing procedures needed based on the supports currently available to them. You did this in the name of the budget.

Also, although it is not part of your cost savings plan for the province, your UCP government has proposed removing learning about the Residential School System from elementary school curriculum. Canada has already swept indigenous history and education under the rug enough, it should be time where we are educating our youth on the mistakes of the governments before us, not trying to bury it.

In your time as Premier a lot of choices have been made in the name of the bottom dollar. And I get it, budgets need to be balanced—but how about instead of cutting down on the bottom rungs of the totem pole we start at the top.

If we reduced the salaries (which are ridiculously large to start with), even by a little bit, of the people at the top such as the school boards or hospital boards, there wouldn’t have to be as many pay cuts or staff reductions in these industries.

And excuse me if I find it hypocritical that your government seems so intent on clutching your coin purses close and pinching pennies for the province, yet somehow the UCP Government can’t account for $1.6 billion due to accounting blunders.

In a news release on Nov. 5, 2020, Alberta’s auditor general flagged $1.6 billion worth of accounting blunders and other oversight problems by your government.

These mistakes are even on major purchases and sales including the oil-by-rail contracts and the so-called energy war room.

Auditor General Doug Wylie also noted that among other concerns the oil-by-rail contracts, which earlier this year the government listed 19 of as sold off for accounting purposes, had less than half of the deals complete. Wylie said this forced a $637 million adjustment.

Your government failed to account for failing oil prices earlier this year on its cash-flow model for the Sturgeon Refinery, forcing a $795 million adjustment to expenses.

In his Audit, Wylie noticed that the war room created by you to fight perceived misinformation on the oil industry has not been doing proper oversight or documentation on more that $1 million in contracts.

How can you be so careless about money and proper documentations for projects like the war room—which is not needed by our province, yet during a pandemic and needing to make cuts the first thing you think of is to reduce our front line workers?

I hope these mistakes come back to bite you in the butt. You are a Premier, you have the resources of the Alberta government so maybe when dealing with tax payer dollars take the extra time to make sure the math is right.



shaela.dansereau@pipestoneflyer.ca

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