Right-wing budget proposals would worsen Alberta’s recession

Independent analysis shows that attempts to balance the budget too quickly would dramatically magnify job losses

Edmonton – The Alberta Federation of Labour has released an independent economic analysis showing that the kind of austerity measures favoured by the Wildrose party would create a second recession in Alberta – with 38,000 jobs lost, on top of the jobs already lost to low oil prices.

Wildrose austerity measures would also shrink the economy by $10 billion per year in 2017 and 2018.

“This isn’t the time to add to Alberta’s unemployment woes by returning to hack-and-slash budgeting,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Laying off teachers and nurses won’t bring back jobs lost in the energy sector; it will only mean more unemployed Albertans. The austerity prescriptions offered by the Wildrose won’t end the recession; they’ll make it worse.”

The report “Austerity vs. Renewal,” was prepared by Hugh MacKenzie & Associates, a national consulting firm that specializes in public accounts and budgeting. The report calculates how many public service jobs would have to be cut to fulfill Wildrose budgetary proposals, and then shows the dramatic impact those job losses would have on the provincial economy.

The report shows that Wildrose layoffs would directly affect 22,000 workers from the government and arms-length agencies, with an additional 16,000 jobs lost indirectly from government suppliers and from businesses that rely on business from government workers.

Overall, the report says this would shrink the Alberta economy by more than $10 billion per year in 2017 and 2018.

“Austerity in the face of recession has been discredited wherever it has been tried around the world,” McGowan said. “The research we’ve released today shows that the kind of austerity measures favoured by the Wildrose would essentially create a second recession in Alberta. The job of government should be to help its citizens get through tough times, not throw them under the bus. So our message for the government is clear: ignore the irresponsible and economically harmful suggestions coming from the Wildrose.”

Link to Hugh MacKenzie Report Austerity vs. Renewal HERE.

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Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell) or via e-mail [email protected]

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