Mass movement calls for urgent revenue reform in Alberta: Join Together Alberta launches campaign to save education, health and social services

EDMONTON – A coalition of hundreds of thousands of Albertans is gathering to force the Conservative government to fix its broken revenue system and save our schools, post-secondary education, health care and other vital social services.

Today (Thursday, May 26), a new campaign was launched under the familiar tartan banner of Join Together Alberta (JTA) to demand that the province reform its revenue model so that the vital public services that Albertans demand and deserve can be protected.

“Alberta is one of the wealthiest places in the world, blessed with an abundance of extremely valuable natural resources – and yet our government has manufactured a financial crisis that is likely to see 1,200 teachers laid off in the next few months and a still to be determined number of vital educational support staff,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 140,000 workers and co-chair of the JTA campaign. “Our education system is experiencing the same kind of chaos that has been inflicted on our health-care system, and that pain is also being felt in post-secondary education and in social services struggling to help vulnerable Albertans.”

Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta and campaign co-chair, says: “This campaign is going to mobilize people from various public service sectors and citizens across Alberta who care deeply about the fabric of our communities. Albertans know that our public services and communities are worth fighting for, and this campaign is going to help make that loud and clear to all political parties.”

Join Together Alberta is an alliance of community groups, social-services agencies and unions and was formed in 2009. The coalition already represents hundreds of thousands of Albertans, but this new campaign will reach out to many more. Coming events include:

  • Phoning 250,000 Alberta homes in the coming days, asking citizens to join the new JTA campaign;
  • A telephone town-hall meeting at 7 p.m. on May 31 that will allow people from all over the province to join an interactive show, much like a radio call-in show, to talk about solutions to Alberta’s revenue problems;
  • A town-hall tour that will visit seven cities including Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Grand Prairie, Calgary, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray and Edmonton (click here for tour details); and
  • The signing of the Our Alberta Declaration, which calls on the Conservative government to finally realize the province’s real potential, reform its broken revenue system and fund vital public services.

CONTACTS: Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour, 780-218-9888

Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director, Public Interest Alberta, 780-993-3736

QUOTES from JTA coalition members