Things are looking up in Alberta and our government is working hard to bring that recovery to all Albertans.
I read with interest Sandra Kim’s letter to the editor in your April 19 edition. It appears to overlook the fact that Alberta’s economy is experiencing a broad-based recovery due, in large part, to government action to ensure programs and service remained available and keeping Albertans working through building much-needed infrastructure.
When the worldwide price of oil dropped in 2015 and the recession hit Alberta our government was faced with a choice. Make the extreme cuts that many, like the UCP, are still calling for or have the backs of Alberta families and continue to support needed programs and services while investing in infrastructure for our province.
We made the latter choice and it is paying off. Alberta’s economy grew by 4.5% last year, leading the country. Alberta will be among the leaders again in 2018 and 2019. Budget 2018 firmly puts us on the path to balance the books in 2023 while putting more Albertans back to work in a more diversified economy with the potential to be leaders in growing sectors like agri-food and high tech.
Our government’s plan is working – we have reduced the deficit by $1.5 billion without having to fire thousands of teachers and nurses. Jobs are up, GDP is up, and retail sales are up.
So why put this all at risk with ideological and extreme cuts?
We know that Kenney’s plan for Alberta is to cut taxes for the richest 1%, costing $700 million. Does that help regular Albertans? All Alberta families get is the bill. And a costly tab it is: Overcrowded classrooms, longer wait times, and fewer RCMP officers to deal with rural crime. Albertans deserve better.
Mr. Kenney failed Alberta in Ottawa by adding nearly $150 billion to the national debt, handing more equalization money to Ontario and Quebec and failing to get a pipeline to Canadian tidewater. Why let that legacy continue? The UCP does not have a real vision for Alberta’s future– they will simply make reckless cuts, as they gave done in the past when oil prices collapsed.
Quality education and health care shouldn’t be dependent on the price of oil. Budget 2018 protects these important programs and services while prudently returning Alberta to balance. We had Albertans’ backs during the worst recession in a generation, and we continue to have their backs. We recognize many Albertans are not yet feeling the recovery and our commitment to them is that we will work to ensure this recovery reaches all and is built to last.
MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose