October 31st, 2020

Neudorf defends provincial budget cuts to SACPA audience


By Mabell, Dave on November 15, 2019.

ÿþLethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf speaks about the recently released provincial budget during the weekly meeting of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

dmabell@lethbridgeherald.com

Alberta’s governments have been running deficits, year after year, for decades. So it’s time to stop spending more than we can pay for, says Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf.

That’s why “moderate cuts” are being made to a number of government programs, the United Conservative Party member told participants at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs.

When called on later to defend those cuts, Neudorf promised Thursday to look further into the impacts some are making to programs in Lethbridge. But he acknowledged ongoing cuts to the province’s colleges and universities will be felt by Lethbridge residents as well as post-secondary students.

“This is one of the most significant challenges for Lethbridge,” he said.

But in recent times, Neudorf said, the Alberta government was paying an annual $10,000 per student more than its counterparts in British Columbia and Ontario.

In the new budget, he added, there’s a strong emphasis on trades training – with Lethbridge College playing an important role in providing those courses.

Neudorf also highlighted the $24.2-billion allocation for capital spending over the next four years, reduced by about $1 billion per year – and the $40 million provided to respond to Alberta’s opioid crisis.

A significant amount of that should come to Lethbridge, he pointed out. Details of the government’s plan to address the drug issue will be announced in the new year, Neudorf said.

Overall, he said, the budget calls for a 7.7-per-cent reduction in Alberta’s public service personnel – and no pay hike for those who remain. That, too, will be felt in Lethbridge, Neudorf admitted.

“I feel myself pulled in two directions.”

Responding to questions, the MLA said cancelling annual “indexing”- adjusting for cost-of-living increases – is required to ensure AISH and other assistance programs remain viable. Alberta’s support cheques are higher than in any other province, he added.

Neudorf told another questioner the government-commissioned McKinnon Report’s authors were asked to report on expenditures, not provincial revenues because this province’s revenue streams can be so unpredictable.

Asked why the government’s $30-million “war room” operation is not accountable to Alberta taxpayers, the MLA admitted he couldn’t say.

“I do agree that the Alberta taxpayer funding that should have access to a lot of information,” he said. “I don’t have a clear understanding myself on this one,” but he promised to learn more.

Challenging the government’s assertion that services for children were getting more support, a board member of one of the city’s child-care agencies said it’s been told funding will be cut off next year.

“What is the truth?” she demanded.

Neudorf told another participant, concerned about the announced $3-million cut to the Lethbridge public schools, he’s been working with local school officials to see how reductions can be handled.

While no new schools for Lethbridge were included in the next four-year plan, he added 250 portable classrooms would be available to school boards across the province.

Pressed on complaints about Canada’s inter-provincial equalization program, Neudorf was reminded that Premier Jason Kenney was a member of the federal Conservative cabinet that approved the current rules.

But at that time no one thought a province would take advantage of it, he replied – by opposing the economic well-being of another province.

Audience members also registered concerns about government officials’ spending in London, about lenient treatment of newly arrested people in the provincial courts, about the future of the teachers’ pension plan and more.

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Southern Albertan

I spoke to a friend who was in the audience at SACPA yesterday. The friend stated, “people were not happy,” and that a number of questions posed were answered with, not having the information or a referral to the ministry involved. It makes one wonder, at what point, will the populace start doing real pushback with regard to this ‘populist authoritarian’government.
The issue of being questioned re: ‘revenue’ is significant in that there still seems to be tone-deafness re: the bygone days of booms in Alberta. The issue of a PST/HST is becoming more and more to the fore, as are Alberta’s too low corporate tax rates.
The blog at albertapolitics.ca today describes even more problems for this Kenney UCP government including “Sweden’s central bank selling off holdings of bonds issued by the Canadian province of Alberta.” And, half of all their cars made by Volvo will be electric by 2025 and all will be electric by 2040, a precursor of things to come and already happening.

Dennis Bremner

Its only a Pre-Cursor that do not understand economies or where Canada is in world economies “Southern Alberta (SA)”! Lets say we go the way of the dodo bird (because thats what we would be doing) and go ALL IN on the new economy, how do we get there SA? Canada is a resource based society. So to satisfy the treehuggers who insist our 1.6% Total GHGs somehow tips the planet, we must conform to their interpretation of how to get off fossil fuels. If you listen to the Green Party its a Global Emergency of Catastrophic proportions. Okay, lets go with that. How many Resource based Countries will meet the 2030 target? How many would have to start exploiting their resources more heavily if the Resource based countries decided too just stop shipping NG Oil, chemicals, Iron Ore, Steel, Copper, Tin, Rare Earths, Aluminum, Moly, Gold, Silver etc etc all the “major polluters that contribute to our terrible 1.6%? What would your new economy look like if we just stopped supplying what the planet occupants need? Lets say, we just shut down the Oilsands tomorrow, where does the other 44% of Two Faced Quebec get its oil or do they just decide tomorrow when the taps are shutoff to reduce consumption Monday morning by 44%…..or do they buy 44% more from the OPEC goup? No one, and certainly that includes you, understand dick about what it takes to migrate from fossil fuels to things that do not even exist yet.
So what would happen SA?
You see, you huggers assume that Oil is the ONLY culprit here, when for instance Cement is by far one of the greatest contributors to GHGs but I do not see you or others pondering the two faced double standard of Quebec stopping pipelines to get OPEC Oil or building the largest Cement manufacturer facilty in Canada? You will note #killooffthecattle never got legs because unfortunately that killed the Quebec Dairy Industry, strange? Nor do I see anyone demanding the Largest Coal export facility in Canada on the BC WATERFRONT be shutdown? Why is that? BC Coal workers out of work to save the planet? Not friggin likely! Oh and what about the largest NG Facility in Canada on the BC waterfront using BC NG? Do NG tankers hurt less if they ram a whale then a Bitumen tanker? Is a bitumen spill equal too or more devastating to the BC environment then the millions of tonnes of raw sewage they pump into the ocean every day? Perhaps all these things don’t “trend” as well as Oilsands bashing? Ever hear of “selective treehugging”, you should have heard of it, because you are doing it!

Southern Albertan

Well! I wouldn’t really describe myself as a hugger! 🙂 Hugs can be good though…..
Just curious if you, re: cement, are familiar with the ‘CarbonCure concrete system?’ You can check it out on Google. And, re: all of the other pollutants, perhaps, we should never underestimate the power of the human race to invent and adapt. Many ‘wrongs,’ do not make a ‘right.’

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