POSTED BY LEAH HALL ON FEBRUARY 21, 2020
During the 2019 election, Jason Kenney promised that a UCP government would deliver jobs and economic growth. But the reality has been quite different.
We’ve already seen one budget from the UCP – built around tax cuts for large, profitable corporations and deep cuts to public spending.
As we await the release of the government’s second budget, which they’ve made clear will be ‘more of the same’, it’s fair to ask: is the UCP prescription for the economy working?
The short and unequivocal answer is “no, it’s not.”
In fact, the impact of the UCP’s first budget on Alberta can only be described as dismal.
How bad has it been? Let’s break it down.
Overall Job Loss
Despite Jason Kenney’s promises of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” Alberta has lost about 50,000 full-time jobs since the UCP was elected.
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality
Construction Job Loss
Most of the 50,000 full-time jobs lost under the Kenney government are in the private sector, particularly in the construction sector which has lost 30,000 jobs since the election.
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0296-01 Labour force characteristics by occupation, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)
(Source: Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0296-01)
Kenney promised that his corporate tax cuts would bring jobs, but the opposite has happened: companies are taking the money while laying workers off, instead of hiring them.
Research conducted by the Alberta Federation of Labour shows that even senior government officials doubt that the corporate tax cuts will create any jobs at all.
So far, most of the job losses have been in the private sector. But that’s about to change. The UCP is now in the process of layering thousands and thousands of public sector job losses on top of private sector job losses.
For example, they’re laying off at least 5,900 Albertans who work in health care.
They’re also laying off people who regulate our oil and gas system (that shouldn’t cause any problems, right?)
Jobs are also being cut in agriculture.
And in the justice system (we thought the UCP were supposed to be big on law and order? Guess not.)
The Kenney government also promised to “make life more affordable for ordinary Albertans.” But, instead, they’re piling on new costs.
We’ve hired economists, and we think 2020 will be the year of “The Kenney Recession”, as his reckless agenda or cuts, cuts, cuts tips our province into a recession.
Clearly, the UCP aren’t the great economic managers that they claimed to be. How do they compare to the previous government, on that score? Not favourably. Under the Notley government, Alberta’s economy grew by the highest rate of any province.
And our economy was forecast to grow at one of the highest rates of all provinces in 2019.
But under Jason Kenney’s leadership, Alberta’s economic growth has slipped into “the doldrums”
By almost any measure, Jason Kenney’s low-wage economic agenda isn’t creating the neo-liberal utopia he promised.
Alberta consumers have lost confidence: retail spending has dipped to a three-year low, driven mainly by declining car and truck sales.
And the result?
Calgary and Edmonton have among the highest unemployment rates in major Canadian cities.
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0095-01 Labour force characteristics by census metropolitan area, three-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality
They can’t even balance the budget, as well as, the NDP
Oh, and did we mention that after Jason Kenney slashed revenue from large, profitable corporations that the deficit increased by $2.1 billion? It’s true…
The definition of insanity
The UCP promised jobs and economic growth.
They promised that big tax cuts for corporations and cuts to government spending would help the economy.
They promised they would balance the books without cutting services.
Clearly, it’s not working. In fact, Kenney’s cuts to government spending will put more Albertans out of work while jeopardizing our health and our children’s education.
There’s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By this measure, we can expect the next UCP budget to be completely insane.
Sign on if you agree: https://www.kenneyscuts.ca/