Jason Kenney is using the same playbook as Doug Ford to justify massive cuts
In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney is using many of the same tactics employed by Doug Ford in Ontario to justify cuts to environmental regulations and social services.
Since taking office in April, Kenney has already blown a $13.5 billion hole in the budget by cutting the provincial corporate tax rate, much like Doug Ford did in Ontario by giving billions back to corporations by ending cap and trade, and lowering taxes on the rich. Ford has in fact already spent $5 billion more than Wynne’s Liberals while enacting massive social service cuts.
Kenney has pledged to slash corporate taxes by a third, which the Opposition NDP says would cut another $4.5-billion hole in the budget over four years. A report released by the Alberta Federation of Labour says the corporate tax plan would leave a $7 billion shortfall in public funds.
The report notes balancing the budget by 2022-23 would require a 12 per cent reduction in public expenditures – leading to massive cuts in public services and public sector employment.
“What this means is larger class sizes, fewer teachers, fewer supports for our students. It means longer wait times, more delays in services that Albertans rely on,” said NDP critic Deron Bilous of the budget plan.
Like Ford’s government, Kenney has promised to bring in a panel to review government spending. Ford did the same and then proceeded to use the report as justification for public service cuts.
Similarly, in April the Ford government announced they plan to balance Ontario’s budget within the next five years without giving exact dates for any of their goals. Most government ministries will face cuts to their budgets, including the ministries of Environment and Social Services. Sixteen of 22 government departments will see their spending fall this year.
Both Kenney and Ford have also come under fire for misleading voters about their budget numbers.
Ford claimed the budget deficit was $14.5, but Ontario’s chief accountant resigned rather than sign-off on Ford’s numbers.
Kenney accused the former NDP government of lying to Albertans about the province’s financial situation. But in its year-end fiscal report, the government showed expenses for the year were actually down by about $300 million, compared with the third-quarter fiscal update put out by the previous NDP government in February.
Jason Kenney’s election plan, if enacted, is expected to cost Alberta 60,000 jobs over the next four years.