DANIELLE SMITH’S FIRST BUDGET SHOULD BE HER LAST
EDMONTON – UCP Leader Danielle Smith’s first budget should be her last as it includes fake projections, hidden plans, rising costs, and continued underfunding of what matters most to Albertans.
Tabled on Tuesday, the UCP government’s Budget 2023 includes forecasts for GDP growth and employment growth that are much higher than any private sector forecast, with some more than double. Funding for critical services remains below where it should be if adjusted for population growth and inflation, with Health Care funding short $1.4 billion and education funding short $1.6 billion.
“Frankly, the best news in Danielle Smith’s first budget is that it could be her last one because very soon, Albertans will have a choice to turn the page,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
Noting that expensive UCP plans such as the R-Star royalty giveaway, the Alberta Provincial Police Force and Alberta Pension Plan are hidden, Notley called it a “fraudulent budget designed to buy votes ahead of the election and then spring the costs on Albertans after the polls have closed.”
“It hides Danielle Smith’s worst ideas, while sidelining the real priorities of Alberta families,” she said.
“Albertans don’t have to accept this budget. In just a few short months, you will have a choice and you can choose better.
“I will support families by funding health care and education every year, not just in the weeks leading up to an election. I will work to make sure you can make ends meet all the time, not just in the two or three months before an election. I will build a resilient economy, with more good-paying, industrial jobs every year. And I will never make you pay to take your kids to the doctor.”
Many UCP affordability programs will end shortly after the spring election, including affordability cheques, electricity rebates, and fuel tax relief.
“While the UCP’s multi-billion-dollar corporate handout will continue year over year, these one-off programs to help families are all expiring faster than a jug of milk,” said Notley “For many Alberta families, this budget is actually a plan for the Most Expensive Summer Ever.”
Funding for primary care in Budget 2023 is smaller than the UCP originally claimed, and falls far behind the Alberta NDP’s Family Health Teams plan. Budget 2023 does not include construction funding for the South Edmonton Hospital or the Red Deer Regional Hospital this year. The budget also shows the UCP will cut $100 million dollars from Albertans’ drug benefits.
“Overall, Danielle Smith is refusing to do the hard work necessary to protect and strengthen public health care but I will do that work,” said Notley.
“Our Family Health Teams plan will connect an additional one million Albertans with access to a family doctor and a Family Health Team. That’s what a real investment in health care looks like.”
Budget 2023 continues to underfund Alberta schools, with the province maintaining the lowest funding-per-student in Canada. Alberta is now 3,600 teachers short of what is needed.
For the first time, there is more money in the budget to build new charter and private schools than for public, Catholic, and Francophone schools combined.
“Children who need help in the classroom still won’t get it,” said Notley. “Danielle Smith is failing Alberta’s children with this budget.”
Budget 2023 did not include any new initiatives for economic diversification and no plan to attract the investment and talent that we need to fuel our economy in the coming decades.
The Alberta NDP’s Competitiveness, Jobs and Investment Strategy is designed to attract billions of dollars in new investment and create tens of thousands of new industrial, private sector jobs.