Alberta labour’s 12-point plan for our future

The World is Changing: Alberta Needs To Be Ready

  1. PROVIDE STRATEGIC SUPPORT TO ALBERTA’S OIL & GAS INDUSTRY
    • Build pipelines to the west coast so we can access markets other than the United States.
    • Reduce carbon emissions, as much as possible, from each barrel of oil produced in Alberta so, we can continue to access markets with increasingly stringent emission standards.
  2. TAKE ON THE “ENERGY DINOSAURS”
    • The election is a choice between energy dinosaurs (who deny change is coming) and energy pragmatists (who are already implementing policies that will prepare us for change).
    • The policies of the “energy pragmatists” are better for Alberta’s economy, including the oil & gas sector.
  3. DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY
    • Politicians in Alberta have been talking about diversification for decades. But the unfolding energy transformation means that it is more important than ever to turn these promises into reality.
    • We need a comprehensive diversification strategy (NDP Made-in-Alberta strategy) that focuses on further diversifying the Alberta economy—both within the oil & gas sector and beyond it.
  4. INVEST IN PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE
    • The NDP needs to continue spending on infrastructure to whittle away at the huge infrastructure deficit they inherited from the PCs.
    • We need to resist pressure to reduce spending on infrastructure. The benefits associated with infrastructure development (job creation, economic growth, enhanced productivity and competitiveness for Alberta businesses) far outweigh the dubious value of being able to say that deficit-reduction targets have been met a year or two earlier than planned.
  5. INVEST IN PUBLIC SERVICES
    • We need to firmly reject calls for cuts and austerity. The record from around the world clearly shows that austerity does not strengthen economies; it weakens them.
    • But maintaining support for public services at levels inherited from the PCs is not enough. We need to explicitly commit ourselves to building an economy that sees the public and private sectors as two inextricably-linked and mutually-supportive engines for economic growth and broadly-shared prosperity.
  6. EXPAND THE MEDICARE UMBRELLA
    • We need to create a universal single-payer prescription drug plan and universal plans for dental and optical care.
    • We also need a universal plan for public seniors’ care, including a comprehensive system for long-term care, and a more robust and comprehensive mental health strategy.
  7. LAUNCH A UNIVERSAL PUBLIC CHILD CARE PROGRAM
    • Alberta currently has the lowest spending on early childhood care compared to other provinces in Canada. Only about 20 per cent of Albertan children have access to regulated childcare.
    • Alberta has the second highest fees in Canada for pre-school child care with an average monthly cost for childcare well above $1,200 per month per child in major cities.
    • A universal public early childhood education and care system would give families across Alberta a fair start.
  8. MAKE TUITION FREE AND EXPAND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
    • Our economic security depends on education. To ensure that Alberta citizens can live up to their potential and that Alberta business have access to top-quality employees, we should eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education at public post-secondary institutions in Alberta.
    • We should also expand opportunities for apprenticeships and training.
  9. CHAMPION REVENUE REFORM
    • Acknowledge the reality that Alberta’s fiscal problem is a revenue problem, not an expenditure problem, and that it has its roots in decisions made by previous conservative governments.
    • Tell Albertans the truth about Alberta’s fiscal problems and their origins in a revenue system that underperforms significantly the revenue systems in every other province in Canada.
    • Commit to putting alternatives in front of Albertans for consideration.
  10. REVAMP PROCUREMENT POLICIES
    • If tax dollars are being used to build public infrastructure, those dollars should also be used to benefit Alberta workers, Alberta communities and Alberta businesses.
    • With that in mind, we need to change Alberta’s procurement policy to include Community Benefit Agreements which emphasize the public interest by awarding contracts to companies that hire local, buy local and achieve thresholds related to environmental, social, and economic factors.
    • We also need to ensure that companies and contractors working on public infrastructure projects comply with labour standards, provide fair pay, and provide training for Albertans.
  11. ENHANCE THE BARGAINING POWER OF WORKING ALBERTANS
    • For the past 40 years, governments have the used anti-worker labour laws to stack the deck against Alberta workers and undermine their bargaining power.
    • This has been bad for workers; but it has also been bad for the economy because stagnant wages mean reduced consumer purchasing power, which, in turn, means slower economic growth.
    • Alberta needs new legal frameworks that restore and enhance bargaining power for Alberta workers.
    • We also need to dismantle existing frameworks that were deliberately designed by the PCs to weaken worker bargaining power, like the so-called “double breasting” system in construction.
  12. EXPAND THE PENSION UMBRELLA
    • As it stands right now, most workers in the public sector have good pensions, but the vast majority of workers in the private sector do not. Instead of addressing this imbalance by ripping retirement security away from public-sector workers, the Alberta government should make it possible for workers in the private sector to take advantage of similar mechanisms available to public-sector workers for saving for their retirement.
    • Specifically, the government should improve retirement security for all Albertans by creating a defined-benefit pension plan for private sector workers that would be managed by Alberta’s public investment management corporation, AIMCo. This pension plan would be portable (meaning it would follow workers from job to job) and it would be designed to supplement the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
    • The government should also push for continued expansion to the CPP and they should fulfill the promise they made to join other provinces in introducing a system of joint independent governance for Alberta’s public-sector pension plans.

 

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