Alberta Premier Jason Kenney holds a media conference at the Alberta United Conservative Party Annual General Meeting in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Kenney: Opposition, unions treating budget cuts like the ‘the apocalypse’

The United Conservatives aim to cut overall operating spending by 2.8 per cent over four years

Alberta’s premier says the Opposition and union leaders are treating public sector cuts as though they are the arrival of the apocalypse.

But Jason Kenney says his United Conservative government is taking a much more measured approach to trimming its budget than former premier Ralph Klein did in the 1990s.

He says the Klein-era cuts were based on arbitrary targets and many had to be undone later.

The premier was speaking to reporters at the close of the UCP’s first annual general meeting since it took power this spring.

A day earlier hundreds of protesters gathered in the cold outside the airport hotel to speak out against education and health-care job losses.

Some in the crowd were chanting about a general strike, but Kenney says he doubts Albertans would take kindly to such a move when public sector workers have fared relatively well in recent years.

The United Conservatives aim to cut overall operating spending by 2.8 per cent over four years — $1.3 billion out of a $55-billion budget.

In a speech to party faithful on Saturday night, Kenney noted the Klein government cut spending by 20 per cent over two years.

“They’re making this out to be the arrival of the apocalypse,” Kenney said of his critics at the Sunday news conference.

“This is ridiculous. This is by modern Canadian fiscal standards one of the most modest periods of fiscal restraint. So I just wish everybody would be a little more objective in their language around this.”

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read