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Kenney calls union wage demands ‘out of touch with reality’

AUPE says it will be looking for raises between 6.5 to 7.85% for 65,000 of their members in talks with the province.

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A government union seeking pay increases of close to 8 per cent shows they “are out of touch with reality,” says Premier Jason Kenney.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says it will be looking for raises between 6.5 to 7.85 per cent for 65,000 of their members in talks with the province.

But Kenney, in a Facebook question and answer session Wednesday night, scoffed at that idea.

“If I were to allow that to happen there is no way we could balance the budget,” said Kenney.

“Then we would have to cut, probably pretty deeply, in health and education.”

Kenney also said provincial income taxes would have to go up “significantly” to meet the wage demands.

The workers, about a third of the AUPE’s membership, includes licensed practical nurses, jail guards, social workers, hospital support staff and hospital aides.

Heading into arbitration, the province wants the workers to take rollbacks of two-to-five percent.

The workers last had a raise in 2016.

AUPE president Guy Smith has said the wage demands are reasonable given housing costs and inflation.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Liberals considering an extra $34 million CBC bailout

The broadcaster’s advertising revenue is falling as quickly as its ratings – its 27 stations across Canada combined to an average of 319,000 viewers, 12,000 per city, for their dinner-hour news.

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The federal Liberals are considering giving the CBC another $34 million in taxpayer cash as part of a COVID-19 bailout.

The proposed bailout is found in documents from the Treasury Board released this week.

The proposed increase — $33.733 million — is described as an “internal reallocation of resources for the COVID-19 impact to advertising revenues and operating costs” reported the Toronto Sun.

CBC has reported a revenue loss of 13% in their first quarter – blaming a drop in advertising dollars because of the pandemic.

The broadcaster’s advertising revenue is falling as quickly as its ratings – its 27 stations across Canada combined to an average of 319,000 viewers, 12,000 per city, for their dinner-hour news.

Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos, Supplementary Estimates (B), 2020–21 shows $79.2 billion in budgetary spending, $58 billion in estimated statutory expenditures and nearly $21 billion in spending needing Parliament’s approval.

The CBC already receives more than $1-billion each year of taxpayer’s money.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta agriculture minister hit by rural crime

Devin Dreeshen, the UCP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, tweeted he was at home last week when the criminals hit.

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Alberta’s agriculture minister has become the latest victim of rural crime.

Devin Dreeshen, the UCP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, tweeted he was at home last week when the criminals hit.

“Woke up at 4am to the sound of my truck being stolen. Criminals were in the process of stealing quads from the shed but were scared off. Needs to be fixed – rural Albertans shouldn’t have to put up with this,” Dreeshen tweeted.

A pick-up truck belonging to the agriculture minister was taken and reportedly used in a crime spree across Alberta before being dumped and set on fire near Cold Lake.

RCMP recovered the vehicle on Thursday.

“Appropriate steps were taken immediately following the incident, involving all concerned ministries. For example, any electronic devices that may have been compromised by this incident were successfully remotely wiped by government officials,” said a government statement to Rebel News.

“Furthermore, the Government of Alberta has significant security measures in place for all of its information. Cabinet-level documents are accessed digitally through a secure, password-protected cloud-based app. Drives are password-protected and encrypted so they cannot be accessed simply by removing the drive and plugging it into another computer.”

Rural Alberta has been hit with a plague or rural crime the past two years.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton NDP MP slammed for asking feds to stop health transfers to Alberta

Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, said in the House of Commons Kenney’s changes has put the health system “under attack” with women disproportionally affected.

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An Edmonton NDP MP is being blasted for asking the feds if they would withhold health transfers to Alberta in the wake of Premier Jason Kenney’s moves to shake up the health care system in the province.

Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, said in the House of Commons Kenney’s changes has put the health system “under attack” with women disproportionally affected.

“Will the minister commit to protecting women in Alberta and the rest of Canada,” McPherson asked.

“Will she withhold transfer payments if Jason Kenney refuses to adhere to the Canada Health Act?”

But that move is being slammed by prominent Edmonton businessman and Tory candidate in Edmonton Strathcona, Rick Peterson.

“It is totally fine that @HMcPhersonMP disagrees with @jkenney, but asking for federal health transfers to be withheld from Alberta is unacceptable. No level of disagreement justifies threats to Albertans’ healthcare funding, especially from the #EdmontonStrathcona MP,” said Peterson, who ran for the federal Tory leadership earlier this year.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced earlier this month that Alberta Health Services was shedding 9,700 hundred jobs by shifting them to the private sector.

The UCP has also asked the AHS to remove 100 managers.

Most of the 9,700 other jobs will now be outsourced in labs, housekeeping, food services, and laundry.

There will be 2,000 laboratory jobs, 4,000 housekeeping jobs, 3,000 food service jobs, and 400 laundry jobs cut.

The province said about 70 per cent of lab results are already contracted out, as is 68 per cent of laundry.

AHS has 3,300 employees in management, with 68 senior leaders and 14 on the executive teams.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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