Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
I am pleased to share with you CUPE Alberta’s pre-budget submissions for the historic 2015 provincial budget, the first to be brought down by the new NDP government.
In the few short months that Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP have been in power, they have already brought forward substantial and progressive legislation. We commend them for moving so quickly to enact real change that brings more fairness in Alberta’s highly regressive taxation system, increases the minimum wage and reduces user fees for public services. We applaud these and other swift changes that show the NDP government understands and values the importance of dignity in all workplaces.
Still, there is much more to be done during these difficult economic times. CUPE Alberta’s position is that the government can deal with its deficit while still having room to increase investment in quality public services. Specifically, our budget recommendations include:
- Implementing major initiatives from the NDP platform, including a greater public investment in child care and increasing supports to the Family and Community Support Services. This is also a good time to call a commission to look at how to phase-out coal-generated electricity while investing more in green energy. CUPE specifically recommends the commission include the principle of Just Transition, to make sure workers and communities dependent on these legacy industries are treated properly.
- Create jobs by investing in government services, infrastructure, child care and public education.
- Adopt buy-local policies for procurement around infrastructure development and maintenance, and adopt an Alberta First policy for purchase of government supplies and food.
- Invest in infrastructure renewal across towns and cities in the province suffering from years of deferred maintenance under previous governments.
- Renew the province’s rural broadband strategy, audit the current Public-Private Partnership infrastructure programs and engage in a comprehensive review of tax expenditures and loopholes.
Please read our full submissions and recommendations below.