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Canada 'This will not be an easy budget': Jason Kenney braces Albertans for government spending cuts

08:05  24 october  2019
08:05  24 october  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Overall government spending will be reduced by 2.8 per cent over four years while funding for health and education will be frozen. “Let’s be clear: This will not be an easy budget ,” Mr. Kenney said in the 13-minute address. He noted that the size of the cuts will be small compared with the 18-per-cent

Of course, it’s not only celebrities who are the problem. Recently published figures reveal that 1% of English residents are responsible for nearly one-fifth of all flights abroad. ' This will not be an easy budget ': Jason Kenney braces Albertans for government spending cuts .

Jason Kenney wearing a suit and tie: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a televised address to Albertans before the release of the provincial budget, Oct. 23, 2019. © Postmedia Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a televised address to Albertans before the release of the provincial budget, Oct. 23, 2019.

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney warned Albertans on Wednesday evening that his government’s budget was going to cut spending, part of the necessary work to reduce government expenditures and turn the economy around.

Thursday’s budget would see a nearly three per cent cut, he said.

“It will be the most important Alberta budget in 25 years,” Kenney said in a televised suppertime address to the province. “Now, let’s be clear: this will not be an easy budget.”

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In anticipation of Kenney’s address, the New Democrats and organized labour in the province went on the attack, painting the upcoming budget as an attack on essential services and vulnerable Albertans and trotting out well-worn lines about American-style health care.

But Kenney, and earlier in the day, Finance Minister Travis Toews, attempted to two-step on both sides of the issue. On one hand, cuts. On the other hand, they could be worse.

This isn’t a return to 1993, the first full year Ralph Klein was in power in the province, they promised.

“Back then they had to cut spending by 18 per cent, not three per cent,” Kenney said.

The speech came as Alberta continues to linger in a prolonged recession; unemployment rates hover around 6.6 per cent, about one percentage point higher than the national average. Other indicators, such as a spike in suicides, point to the toll the sclerotic economy is taking on mental health in the province; for each percentage increase in unemployment, 16 people commit suicide, according to a report last month from the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says there will be spending restraint in the upcoming budget but it It will not be like 1993,” Kenney said to applause as he addressed leaders from across the province “It’s an easy target because when potholes get deeper and wider and when the roof at the rec centre

Albertans are starting to look for plans from politicians as they get ready to head to the polls in the spring, and “If we were to freeze government spending and get decent growth, at about 3 per cent nominal growth in our economy per year, you’d get to a balanced budget by about 2023,” Kenney said.

Kenney’s United Conservative Party swept to power last spring by vowing to turn the provincial economy around and using every possible legislative and rhetorical tool possible to ensure pipeline access to new markets was achieved. Kenney also promised to reduce a taxation and red-tape burden that, the party claimed, was driving away billions of dollars in private investment in the province.

One of its very first acts was to commission a report into the state of the province’s finances.

a man sitting in a living room:  Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews puts on a pair of cowboy boots during a pre-budget photo op in Edmonton on Oct. 23, 2019. © Jason Franson/The Canadian Press Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews puts on a pair of cowboy boots during a pre-budget photo op in Edmonton on Oct. 23, 2019.

That report, completed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon last month, found the province would need to shed $600 million in spending if there was a chance of balancing the budget by 2022-23 and that in many instances, such as health care, where the province was spending more per capita than other provinces, was delivering results that fell short. If spending was in line with other provinces, MacKinnon reported, Alberta would save some $10 billion annually.

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Notley said Kenney has not been clear on his spending plans, noting he mused publicly in 2017 about eventually getting Alberta down to per capita spending Taxes are also expected to be a centrepiece of the campaign, which by law must have voters go to the polls some time in March, April, or May.

Alberta Premier-Designate Jason Kenney speaks at a news conference outside the Alberta Two key elements to this will be challenging the federal government ’s imposition of a carbon tax and It would, said the Navigator study, be a “clear win-win scenario” that would allow Kenney to arrive at “They remain sceptical, so an announcement would not cut it. They want to see shovels in the ground

“Without decisive action, the province faces year after year of deficits and ever-increasing debt,” the report said.

While that report was seen as a blueprint to balance (or to cut down to the bone, depending on perspective) Thursday will be the first look at how the province actually intends to reign in spending while maintaining promised public services. Kenney warned that the federal government, a minority Parliament under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, couldn’t be trusted to protect Albertans, and indeed, that it had stood against Alberta’s “vital economic interests.” He compared the province to a household, that spending restraint would be necessary, saying it was key to be “self-reliant.”

“We need to dig deep as a community, caring for the least fortunate, while unleashing the spirit of enterprise that has made Alberta the envy of the world,” Kenney said as his speech closed. “I am confident that we will emerge through this time of adversity stronger than ever, with a bright future as Alberta that is strong and free.”

• Email: tdawson@postmedia.com | Twitter: tylerrdawson

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Notley: Kenney has betrayed Albertans to fund a $4.7B corporate handout .
The budget presented by Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP will force every single Albertan to pay for his $4.7-billion no-jobs corporate giveaway. This budget will extract more in personal income taxes from every Albertan by disconnecting the tax code from inflation. This is a shocking betrayal of Jason Kenney’s central campaign promise. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation blasted the move as a “hidden, sneaky tax.” Jason Kenney himself denounced this technique as a tax increase when he led the CTF. It’s a sneaky tax that will pull $600 million out of individual Albertans’ pockets. And then there are the cuts.

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