The Council of Canadians participated in a “Prentice look in the mirror” rally at the Alberta legislature today. Edmonton-based Prairies-Northwest Territories organizer Aleah Loney and United Nurses of Alberta president (and Council of Canadians Board member) Heather Smith joined more than a hundred people to draw attention to Alberta premier Jim Prentice’s recent comment and to warn against cuts to public services.
CBC reports, “More than 100 people carrying mirrors of all shapes and sizes gathered on the steps of the Alberta Legislature Saturday, demanding Premier Jim Prentice account for comments stating Albertans ‘need only look in the mirror’ to see those responsible for the province’s financial mess.” The article explains, “Speaking with CBC’s alberta@noon earlier this week about Alberta’s finances, Prentice said ‘in terms of who is responsible, we need only look in the mirror. Basically, all of us have had the best of everything and have not had to pay for what it costs’. The comments sparked outrage from many in the province, with many mocking the comments under the hashtag #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans. That frustration gave birth to the rally Saturday.”
The Edmonton Sun highlights, “Rather than placing the blame on Albertans, [Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil] McGowan – along with Alberta Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman and NDP MLA Brian Mason, who also attended the rally – points the finger at corporate tax breaks and to the wealthy, coupled with low oil sands royalty rates.”
And Global News notes, “Chanting the words, ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s to blame for this shortfall’, protesters directed their mirrors toward the legislature to demonstrate who they think is responsible for the province’s current fiscal crisis. ‘We want the government to look in the mirror’, said one protester.”
The Prentice government is now threatening a 9 per cent cut to public services like health care and education. Loney says, “Prentice won’t even touch the issue of royalties or corporate taxes, has recently suggested reintroducing health care premiums and has announced that this budget will be so sweeping in its cuts, that Albertans will want an election.” After Prentice made his comment several days ago, Prairies-NWT organizer Chris Gallaway tweeted, “I’d rather folks ‘look in the mirror’ to see who’s going to stop Prentice’s extremely right wing agenda.”
At a media conference earlier this week, Smith and allies called on the Prentice government to increase the tax on corporate profits to a rate that is closer to the national average, replace Alberta’s flat income tax with a progressive tax that requires high-income earners to pay higher tax rates than middle and low-income earners, and introduce royalty changes to ensure Albertans receive a fair share from the sale of their resources.
For more, go to the Better Way Alberta website here and visit Twitter and use the hashtag #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans.
Photos: Albertans rallied outside their legislature today.