Blog > My Response to Alberta’s Budget 2021

My Response to Alberta’s Budget 2021

On February 25th, the provincial government tabled Alberta’s Budget 2021, and I’ve taken some time to do an initial review. First, I think it’s important to acknowledge the extraordinary and complex challenges currently faced by decision-makers and elected officials at all levels of government. It’s safe to say that there is no one, clear, correct course of action when confronted by a historical global pandemic, coupled with a sharp drop in our resource revenue. Perhaps partly because I’ve been away from municipal government for several years now, I’m left with more questions than answers about Budget 2021, and certainly some concerns.

There are a few things in particular that stand out to me:

  • While Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding has been maintained for 2021-22, it drops precipitously in the two years following, for an average reduction of 25% over the three years. This highlights the imperative for prudent planning on the part of municipalities.
  • Because Edmonton has a strong provincial public service contingent, any reductions within the public service—whether through salary rollbacks, cuts, or attrition—will be felt by our local economy. Similarly, reductions in post-secondary funding will have ripple effects throughout our city. Our business and non-profit sectors will need our collective support to ensure our economy can adapt and thrive.
  • It’s encouraging to see the promise of investment in key economic diversification strategies, including in the areas of tech and innovation, tourism, and pharmaceuticals and life sciences, which play to some of Edmonton’s greatest strengths. Focus and collaboration will be critical to the tactical and meaningful execution of these big ideas.
  • There remains a gap in core support for some of our most vulnerable Edmontonians, including our homeless population. This is a key issue that demands solution-minded advocacy and a strong partnership across stakeholder groups and funding bodies.
  • A thorough review of major project funding is needed in order to determine if our province’s capital and hub for Northern Alberta is getting its fair share.

I wish our current mayor and council every success in leveraging the funding and economic opportunities available to our city through this budget, recognizing there are considerable limitations to navigate, including the absence of predictable and stable municipal grant funding.

Calculator-On-Phone-up-close

If elected as your Mayor in October, I look forward to drawing on the strengths and experience of our council and administration to build a plan grounded in consensus, and to working collaboratively with our provincial and federal counterparts to get the very best for our city. Budget 2021 reminds us that now, more than ever, we need a champion for our city—someone ready and able to lean in on strategies that will boost our local economy and meet the programs and services needs of all of our communities—including non-profit, arts, and business—and of our residents overall.

Choices made by decision-makers today on key issues such as program and infrastructure funding and taxation will have long-lasting impacts for our citizens, and the decision-makers of tomorrow. I will watch closely over coming months as things continue to unfold so that I am prepared to hit the ground running if you put your trust in me to help move Edmonton forward.