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Mr. MacDonald questions the Premier about education funding

November 29, 2009

The following is copied from the November 26, 2009 printed transcripts of the Legislative debate and discussion.

 

Mr. MacDonald (Edmonton-Gold Bar Lib): Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask my questions to the Premier, not the minister of health,

who can’t budget to save his life. To the Premier: why is this government

cutting $80 million from public education when it continues to support

horse racing and ineligible farm fuels to the tune of $65 million?

 

Mr. Stelmach (Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville PC): Mr. Speaker,

with respect to education the minister has had a good dialogue with school

boards. The school boards are sitting at about 400 and some million dollars’

worth of surplus. He’s asked school boards to dip into those surpluses starting

this year to take any reductions or any kind of cutbacks out of the classroom.

He’s been able to do that, and school boards are co-operating. That

just shows that the government has a good working relationship with

the school boards and is leading in this plan.

 

Mr. MacDonald: I don’t believe that because I saw evidence of the

working relationship between the school boards and the Minister of

Education the other morning at breakfast.

 

Again to the Premier: why is the government cutting $188 million

out of the health budget when you could shrink the size of cabinet by

four and save $54 million and leave the public health care budget

alone?

 

Mr. Stelmach: I know that we’re nearing the last few hours of this

session. But, boy, if you took $54 million for four ministers and you

divided that by 23, then multiplied it again by the $54 million, that

is – I don’t know where they’re getting these figures.

 

Once again yesterday just all kinds of misinformation and, you

know, blue skying everything. Again, the same evidence here. We

know that we have to find $2 billion in our budget. We will do that.

I said yesterday that we were going to do that while protecting the

core services of this government. We’re getting a good buy-in from

municipalities, from school boards, from the Alberta Medical

Association, everyone. They’re all working together as Albertans to

make sure that at the end of two years we’re back in the black and

we’re putting money back into the sustainability fund.

 

Mr. MacDonald: Again, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier. The Premier

knows he has no intent of protecting public services. Why is this

government spending millions of dollars on marketing firms,

branding campaigns, and the Public Affairs Bureau while it’s cutting

the budget of public health care, public education, and children’s

services?

 

Mr. Stelmach: Mr. Speaker, our exports value at about $100 billion.

We have to be very diligent to ensure that we have the correct

factual information out in all our markets, whether it be on what

we’re doing on air emissions, climate change, water strategy, just

ensuring that the markets that we export to don’t close the doors

because of continued misinformation, most of that misinformation,

quite frankly, coming from the party opposite. (2066)

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