New book shows Alberta wealth is going to corporate profits, not public services
EDMONTON, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - How is it that a province as wealthy as
Alberta is running deficits and says it must cut public services? Where
is Alberta's huge wealth really going?
Those are two of the central questions that author Kevin Taft attempts
to answer in a hard-hitting, fact-filled new book called "Follow the Money," released today in Edmonton. Taft is a best-selling author and former
leader of the Alberta Liberal Party.
The book exposes the "big lie" that spending on public services in
Canada's richest province is out of control and that Alberta can no
longer afford to fund things like education and health care at current
levels. Oil is selling at $100/barrel, Alberta's economy is booming,
and still the government is cutting services and running deficits.
"Alberta's energy resources are creating wealth on a scale and at a pace
that is unprecedented in Canadian history," says Taft. "Those resources
are publicly owned, but most of the wealth from them is being scooped
off the table in the form of unprecedented profits for corporations.
Money that is based on the development of public resources and that
could be used to fund things that Albertans and Canadians value is,
instead, being siphoned off to private investors. It's not public
spending that is disproportionately high in Alberta, it is profits."
"This matters for all of Canada," adds Taft. "The Alberta government is
only getting crumbs from the table compared to the scale of wealth
being created. But those crumbs have been used to keep taxes so low
that even Alberta can't afford to balance its books and pay for
services any more. Unfortunately, Alberta's unsustainably low taxes put
pressure on other provinces to follow, fuelling deficits and driving
service cuts right across Canada. It is a race to the bottom that no
government in Canada can win, or even sustain. And the losers in this
race are clearly ordinary Canadians who are being told they have to
accept less from the services which they value and need."
Taft's book, co-researched by economists Mel McMillan and Junaid
Jahangir, was written independently. Publication was sponsored by the
Alberta Federation of Labour and Public Interest Alberta as part of a
campaign to start a public discussion about taxes and royalties in
A short documentary film, produced by award-winning film-maker Tom
Radford, has also been produced as a companion to the book.
Taft will be stepping down as a MLA this spring when an election is
expected to be called.
"This isn't about politics, it's not even about the election," says
Taft. "It's about showing Albertans that they're not getting their fair
share of the wealth being created from the resources they own. And it's
about drawing attention to public policies that are hurting Albertans
and, indeed, all Canadians."
SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information:
Kevin Taft, MLA-Edmonton Riverview (780-720-4479)
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (780) 218-9888
Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Director, Public Interest Alberta (780) 993-3736