Cuts Could Kill Thousands of Jobs: 'We have options that would make most other provinces green with envy'

The province's largest union is warning up to 60,000 jobs are at risk if the Alberta government cuts billions of dollars from its upcoming budget.

"It's clear to us that the government is considering cuts on a scale that we haven't seen in Alberta since the darkest days of the so-called Klein revolution," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL).

The conclusion, reached in AFL's report, Worse Than the Recession, is based on the assumption the government will slash $2 billion to $3 billion in next month's 2010 budget announcement, says McGowan.

Alberta has already lost 44,700 jobs since the boom screeched to a halt in the fall of 2008.

Calgary would be hit particularly hard with potential job losses numbering almost 18,000 in a worse-case scenario, according to the report.

Rather than falling back on the slash-and-burn tactics used in the 1990s, the province could dip into its sustainability fund, valued at $17 billion last April.
"We have options that would make most other provinces green with envy," says McGowan. "A credible solution is to simply avoid panic and wait for the economy to recover, which it seems to be doing."

Fast Forward Weekly, Thurs Jan 28 2010
Byline: Trevor Scott Howell

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