EDMONTON, Alberta--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The provincial budget from the Kenney UCP government fails workers in Alberta. Yesterday, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews tabled budget 2021, a budget he said was “focused on what matters most today – on health care and on jobs.”
“What we saw was a budget focused on pay cuts, especially in the health care and the public sector, threatening the lives and livelihoods of many Albertans,” said Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada.
Budget 2021 reduces spending on public sector wages, salaries and employee benefits by roughly one billion dollars.
“Pay cuts will not fix the economic problems in Alberta and instead will hurt communities. It’s quite simple, if Albertans have less money coming in, they will have less money going out to spend in shopping centres, restaurants, gyms, on personal services and for tourism. These reckless short-sighted cuts will hurt everyone,” said Hunt.
Steelworkers are keeping an eye on the $1.7-billion-dollar increase to the 2021 Capital Plan to build roads, bridges, overpasses, water projects, gas lines, schools, hospitals, long-term care homes for seniors, addiction treatment centres, tourism infrastructure and agriculture and natural-resources projects.
“I challenge Premier Kenney to bring in procurement policies to ‘Buy Canadian’ for all infrastructure project tendering. We can’t afford to have more steel mills closing, and our steel, forestry products and natural resources not being used in Alberta infrastructure projects,” said Hunt. “Last year, Calgary's Tenaris Prudential steel plant closed after having no orders on their books. Whether it’s rebar, pipe or other products, we need to ensure that Canadian workers are kept working instead of importing these products from overseas.”