By Letter to the Editor on July 9, 2020.
I take exception to Karen Weiers, VP of AUPE, regarding her column in the Lethbridge Herald on June 17, “Insulting Alberta’s pandemic heroes.”
I re-read UCP MLA Nathan Neudorf’s column published in the Lethbridge Herald June 12, “Strong plan going forward needed.” Karen’s opening comment is “One minute you’re a hero, the next you’re a zero,” referring, of course, to Nathan’s article. It is important to have a strong opening statement to make your point. So here is mine: Karen’s interpretation of Nathan’s article is groundless and a compete distortion of what Nathan was saying.
First, I would hazard a guess that you would be hard-pressed to find any politician with a better appreciation for our health-care workers and first responders than Nathan; his wife is a nurse. I could use up this letter comparing Karen’s comments and how she twists and interprets Nathan’s comments to further her agenda: unions against our duly-elected government and the taxpayers of this province. Karen says Nathan only seeks to divide us; I think Karen’s comments are the divisive ones.
Governments that find themselves with massive debit, which we find ourselves in now because of the previous NDP government policies, our major natural resource industry stymied by lack of pipeline capacity and low world prices and, to top it all off, the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down our province, have few choices. It can reduce costs by laying off employees and/or reducing wages and benefits. It can raise taxes. It can build an environment that encourages business growth, innovation and take advantage of our natural resources and human resources that Alberta is so blessed with. It may take a combination of all three but if I had my choice it would be number three. I think that was what Nathan was referring to.
Nathan was not belittling the contribution that all our provincial employees contribute to our collective success. More to the truth, once again you would be hard-pressed to find a politician that has a higher regard for the value that our provincial employees contribute to the success of Alberta. The simple fact is, if you are a paid employee for the government, of course you get paid more in compensation than you pay in taxes. If you are privately employed, then you pay more in taxes than you receive in financial compensation from the government. That was one of Nathan’s points and not meant to be derogative.