October 25th, 2020

Concerns about budget, businesses

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on October 25, 2019.

The last month has been jam-packed in Lethbridge. I was able to attend the official launch of the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs report, the Climate Strike outside of city hall, the University of Lethbridge’s Arts and Science Scholarship Dinner honouring Dr. Dennis Connolly, and the university’s fall convocation. At each of these events I spoke with many individuals who had concerns about different aspects of Jason Kenney’s budget.

I spoke with teachers and parents whose classrooms and students have already been affected. I spoke with people concerned about how the budget will affect university and college students’ tuition. I spoke with health-care and social workers concerned about their organizations being able to provide the level of care and treatment their patients and clients need. All of these comments were echoes of what we heard in our several Budget Town Halls, which we wrapped up at the beginning of October.

It’s helpful to remember that budgets reflect priorities. Governments fund their priorities through the budget. In this case, the Kenney government prioritized giving 15 per cent of its spending money to profitable corporations, and to give $30 million to a new propaganda office. I believe the priority should be diversifying and growing an >economy where ordinary people can get ahead, so we can pay for things like health care, education, seniors care, child care, supports for people with disabilities and protecting the environment. I will continue to stand up for those priorities in the Legislature.

Over the summer, it became clear to me that >Downtown Lethbridge small businesses were having a difficult time responding to >a concerted fear and smear campaign that was keeping people from shopping there. Downtown Lethbridge is full of great places to eat, shop and find cool, locally produced and sourced gifts for the holiday season. Over the past few months, I was alarmed to see people spread misinformation about the downtown, because this directly resulted in a lowered bottom line for small business. I was saddened that this social media-inspired disinformation campaign hurt my friends’ and constituents’ ability to make a living. I was particularly shocked that even one of our city councillors was talking down our downtown. That’s not acceptable. As an elected representative of Lethbridge, I believe my job is to seek solutions and help our neighbours through some difficult social issues that have become increasingly acute in Lethbridge. There are many solutions and none of them are easy, but one thing we do know is that making life tougher for small business and scaring off customers isn’t a solution.

Tomorrow is the last day of Small Business Week. I encourage everyone to come to Downtown Lethbridge this week, or in the weeks to come, and do your holiday shopping here.

When you buy local, you support a local family and their staff. Let’s stand together as a community and support our small businesses. The best >way to support our downtown small businesses is to support them with our dollars.

The constituency office has been getting more and more calls from folks who have seen their insurance rates going up since the government lifted the cap on how much insurance companies can raise your rates. Unfortunately, it looks like this government is more interested in listening to lobbyists and already-profitable >corporations than in listening to everyday, hard-working Albertans. If you have seen your insurance rates increase recently, please call the constituency office at 403-329-4644, you can email us at lethbridge.west@assembly.ab.ca, or you can stop by our new office at #110 410 Stafford Drive South to speak with us about this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Shannon Phillips is the NDP MLA for Lethbridge West. Her column appears monthly.

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Southern Albertan

Agreed…on what appears to be a dim future for Alberta/Albertans now, unfortunately. It makes one wonder whether there will be pushback as has happened with the Ford Conservatives in Ontario, another populist authoritarian disaster, and played deeply into the federal Conservative’s loss in the federal election, thanks to the folks in the ‘905’ in Ontario. No wonder the Kenney UCP released this horrible budget after the federal election! There are no politics in Alberta anymore, who can depend on fossil fuel revenue. Time for Alberta to grow up and do the work to bring in other revenue, which likely means a PST or HST. It would bring in about $11 billion/year which would avoid cutbacks to social services and take care of the deficit quite nicely. But, it appears that the UCP only cares about their ‘Big Corporate Friends,’ and certainly not the sick, disabled and young people trying to get a post secondary education, let alone grade school and high school. After all, we certainly do not see other Conservative Canadian Premiers who do not have fossil fuel revenue, getting rid of their PSTs/HSTs.
Also,for the religious right wing who supports this populist authoritarian politics, it should make them remember what Jesus said about how we treat the poor, and that means right here at home.
Here, again, is an excellent read at: http://www.albertapolitics.ca
“Alberta is Alberta again! The poor little rich kid of confederation brings down a budget. Happy St. Crispin’s Day!”
How long will it take for less monied UCP supporters “to start shifting in their seats and start getting grumpy?”