Everywhere I walk in St. Albert these days, I am confronted with lawn signs. Typically, the preponderance of lawn signs takes place during election season, but these signs name issues of concern: Save Our Water; Protect Our Parks; Don't Pull the Plug on Public Health Care; Protect our Colleges and Universities; I love AB nurses; Protect AB teachers.
In 27 years of living in St. Albert, I don't recall ever seeing anything like this.
There is an underlying commonality prompting homeowners to place these signs: Premier Jason Kenney's shocking, and mean-spirited budget cuts. The signs are not part of an organized, foreign-backed movement against “poor Alberta” (as our premier tends to categorize dissent), they are posted on the lawns of people who work, who raise families, and who hope their children can grow up in a society that offers the supports needed to build their own futures.
The issues depicted, and the institutions Kenney has attacked, are at the core of who we are as Albertans and as Canadians: universal public health care, affordable higher education, a healthy environment, and robust public education.
The cuts made in environmental monitoring, higher education, and the non-profit sector should keep us awake at night. So, too, should the shocking amount of money Kenny has wasted for dead-end, ideologically-driven projects such as the Canadian Energy “war room” (original budget $30 million); more than $6 billion for the doomed Keystone XL project; and a whopping four-per-cent corporate tax cut.
Add to these some decisions made simply because they were policies implemented by the NDP government, and you have a recipe for incompetence.
A few examples come to mind: first, repealing Alberta's carbon tax (which kept all monies collected in Alberta) only to allow the federal carbon tax to take hold; secondly, stopping the super lab mid-construction, which would have modernized, streamlined, and consolidated lab services for the region; revamping the school curriculum; and repealing the yearly cost-of-living increase to AISH recipients.
Do I dare mention the way this government has slashed funding for persons with disabilities? The new policy for PDD funding (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) funding is “crisis only,” taking away contracts families have long depended upon for community support workers, programming, and respite.
More fodder for more lawn signs.
The above issues are deeply concerning. Sadly, there are even more that could be named. Some more than others have affected my family personally: paying a fee to enjoy Kananaskis country while our parks are being privatized; losing my family doctor, whose departure from Alberta was directly linked to Kenney's treatment of physicians and nurses; losing the aides in school that my son (and his teachers) depended on; seeing the demoralizing look on nurses' faces who have sacrificed, and upon whom we depended, during the pandemic; and being denied the PDD funding for my son’s future.
For this household, the provincial election can't come soon enough. Orange lawn signs anyone?
Alice Sears, St. Albert