With only days before the release of the provincial budget, advocacy group Public Interest Alberta hopes to send a strong message to the government about the priorities of Albertans.
Armed with poll statistics and the support of local groups such as the Alberta Environmental Network and the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the organization launched a campaign called Invest in Albertans on Thursday to kick off Beyond Band Aids and Bailouts, a conference addressing the campaign details Friday to Sunday.
According to Bill Moore-Kilgannon, the executive director of Public Interest Alberta, the group hopes the campaign will help the government realize that the majority of Albertans are looking for it to invest in public programs and services.
“There are powerful interests who are going to be lobbying hard for bailouts and cuts in taxes and programs now and over the next year as the economic crisis continues,” Moore-Kilgannon said. “Albertans will need to put pressure on the government to make wise choices that will address the priorities of the majority of our province’s people.”
The results of a poll conducted by research group Environics in March suggests that 73 per cent of those surveyed believe that investing in health care, education and other public services is more important than cutting taxes. Eighty-two per cent agree that expanding the availability and improving the quality of the post-secondary education system is one of the best ways to invest in Alberta’s economy.
Based on the survey and expert opinion, Public Interest Alberta put together a list of suggested investments for the Alberta government, such as the education system, the healthcare system, poverty reduction strategies and support for community programs.