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Union says more than 6,000 provincial jobs to be axed

Government documents released by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees show the government is set to chop more than 6,000 employees from their payroll.

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Government documents released by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees show the government is set to chop more than 6,000 employees from their payroll.

Union president Guy Smith is expected to hold a press conference Monday in Edmonton to address the cuts.

But late Friday afternoon the union released letters from the government explaining what it was going to do.

In a letter to Smith, Public Service Commissioner Tim Grant said there will be no layoffs until March 20.

“Beginning April 1, the GoA will use all options available under the collective agreement to ensure government is on track to implement key priorities and support the government’s path to balance by 2022-23,” wrote Grant.

He said 2,500 public service jobs could be impacted over those years.

Grant said the cuts would come across numerous departments including financial services, agriculture and forestry, community and social services, seniors and housing and Service Alberta.

He also noted Ernst & Young has been hired to do a complete review of AHS with a report out by the end of next month. AHS announced Friday the elimination of 500 nursing position.

“We ask that discretion be excercised in the use and dissemination of this information as the uncertainty could have a real impact on the well-being of our employees. Every staffing decision will be made with care and compassion,” Grant wrote to Smith.

A letter to the AUPE’s Jim Petrie from the Alberta Health Services Dennis Holliday, he laid out plans for a huge number of layoffs in that sector.

Up to 2,000 jobs are set to go in contracting out environmental services, 350 in administration, 250 in the Operational Best Practices group, 235 with the contracting out of more linen services and 165 in food services.

Holliday also writes about contracting out home care in areas like nursing, palliative and pediatric at a cost of 200 jobs.

LAYOFFS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY

AHS….Up to 3,400 positions.

Nurses….500 positions.

Public service….2,500

TOTAL: 6,400 job losses.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Na

    November 29, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    You’ve been a journalist for decades and you still fall for the union tactic of “potential layoffs…in the future…thousands and thousands”. Interesting timing by the union. Kenney goes into the UCP convention with this dominating the news cycle. When was the last time public employment numbers ever shrank, even in Alberta? Their budget doesn’t grow for 1 year and the world comes to an end?

  2. Coach Cal

    November 30, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    The majority of jobs will fall to attrition over the next 4 years, not “layoffs”

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Questions swirl about accountability of Conservative Party’s funds

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The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has fired its Executive Director the day after Andrew Scheer resigned, and as questions swirl about accountability for funds raised from donors to the party.

As Dustin van Vugt was released from service, the party says it will review how expenses are approved. Andrew Scheer stepped down as CPC leader amidst controversy over using party funds on Thursday morning, but was re-appointed as Interim Leader by the Tory Caucus.

The story – which is developing with contradictory information – began Thursday morning when it was leaked to the press that Scheer would resign. Allegations that Scheer was using party money from donors to pay for his children’s private school tuition surfaced shortly afterward, but had been swirling around media circles the day before. The Western Standard learned of the potential scandal Wednesday morning, but was unable to confirm a source, and so declined to publish.

Andrew Scheer (source: WikiCommons)

Van Vugt released a statement after the leader’s resignation saying that Scheer was eligible for expenses related to relocating his family to Ottawa, and that amount was covered only for the difference in costs that the family had paid in Regina, Saskatchewan.

After question period Thursday, the Tory caucus went into another meeting and reemerged to inform media they had chosen Scheer – who had resigned hours earlier – to be the Interim Leader of the party.

According to the CPC’s constitution, the “Conservative Fund Canada is a non-share capital corporation incorporated under and governed by the provisions of the Canada Corporations Act.” It is “the sole fundraising arm of the Party and shall be the chief agent of the Party pursuant to the Canada Elections Act.”

Most federal and provincial parties elect a board that oversees both the administration and finances of the organization.

The Conservative Party of Canada has two separate arms of governance; the National Council – elected by members every two years and is responsible for Party business – and the Conservative Fund directors – who, according to (9.8) of the Constitution are nominated by the Leader – and are responsible for the party’s financial affairs.

In effect, this means that Conservative Party members have no say or oversight into how money is raised or spent.

There are seven current directors of the Fund, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Linda Frum.

In 2016, Irving Gerstein, Conservative Fund Chair and a former Senator appointed by Harper, addressed delegates at the CPC convention in Vancouver.

“On behalf of the directors of the Fund – all being volunteers – I say to you, that as long as the Fund is in control of the financial affairs of the Party, we will see that the fund fulfills its obligation to operate in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner.”

John Paul Tasker, a reporter with CBC politics tweeted that a source close to the Fund said “they did not know Scheer was receiving party funds to pay for his kids’ private schooling. They were looking it when Scheer resigned. They do not view his decision to resign as coincidental and would not have approved expenses if asked.”

According to Section 10.4 of the CPC’s Constitution, the Executive Director is nominated by the Party leader (subject to ratification by the National Council). Dustin van Vugt was hired in July of 2014 to replace Dmitri Soudas.

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New Brunswick breaks ranks with Alberta on carbon tax

New Brunswick is breaking ranks for Alberta and fully complying with Ottawa’s carbon tax

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New Brunswick is the latest province to present a carbon tax plan on fossil fuels with its Gasoline and Motive Fuel Tax Act introduced in the Legislature Thursday.

“For us and for New Brunswickers, climate change is real, man-made, and worthy of action,” said Finance and Treasury Minister Ernie Steeves.

“One of our key priorities is to energize the private sector. With our made-in-New Brunswick carbon tax plan, we will protect New Brunswickers and ensure the sustainability of our environment, as well as that of our communities and our economy.”

The “made-in-New Brunswick” carbon tax on fossil fuels will go into effect April 1, 2020

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister introduced the new Ministry of Conservation and Climate Change when his government was sworn in on October 23, 2019.

Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond was appointed to lead the Ministry.

“(T)he new Department of Conservation and Climate (is) a single department charged with environmental and climate stewardship,” according to a news release on the Manitoba government’s website.

“The department is responsible for ensuring responsible growth including delivery of the made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, and Efficiency Manitoba.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in Alberta received federal approval of his TIER program, which maintains a carbon tax on about 50 per cent of Alberta’s emissions, on December 6th.

Kenney repealed the NDP’s “made-in-Alberta” carbon tax plan in May and eliminated programs through Efficiency Alberta that had been funded by the carbon tax.

“Albertans made it clear over the course of the election that they have no interest in taxpayer-subsidized home renovations schemes,” Jess Sinclair, spokesperson for Environment Minister Jason Nixon told the Calgary Herald in an email at the end of October.

Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are still moving forward with their carbon tax challenge in a three-day hearing at Alberta’s Court of Appeal next week. New Brunswick officials have not said whether they are still intervening in the challenge.

Ontario and Saskatchewan appeal courts have both upheld the federal government’s jurisdiction.  

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Alberta premier’s approval rating plummets

Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.

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Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.

The Edmonton Journal commissioned poll of approval ratings show Kenney has a 40 per cent approval rate, a notable decline from his pre-election approval rating of 55 per cent.

An earlier Leger poll reported Kenney’s approval rating at 42 per cent at the beginning of December.

Former NDP Premier Rachel Notley had 40 per cent approval as well – pre-election.

The poll showed Quebec Premier Francois Legaut was the most popular and Ontario leader Doug Ford the least.

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