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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

A Time for Vision: A Sustainable & Equitable Economy

Discussion Paper by Parkland Institute

The Alberta government’s 2005 budget will be the first since the provincial debt was eliminated. According to the Parkland Institute’s Committee on Alberta’s Finances, this budget should lay the foundations for a vision to build a socially sustainable and equitable economy. As the authors explain there are no economic obstacles to realizing such a vision. While some initiatives such as increasing the minimum wage and funding for post-secondary education, the authors consider these “quick fixes” that will not adequately address long-term problems and inequities in Alberta. Despite the province’s strong economic growth, the authors point to increased reliance on food banks and growing homelessness – both of which increased by 11 percent in 2004.

To reverse the polarization, the authors assert that there needs to be a long-term plan with deeper investments in key areas. In terms of revenue, they point to the continued shift away from reliable funds and a progressive taxation system toward a reliance on regressive taxes like gambling and consumption taxes. The authors suggest there has been insufficient funding to implement the Learning Commission’s recommendations for K-12 education, and that new funding initiatives for post-secondary education are inadequate. They posit that new core funding for the institutions themselves is what is really needed. With regard to health care, the authors contend the government needs to recognize the integration of all programs and the importance of poverty and inequality to health care. Further, in their view, social assistance rates fall far short of the poverty line. The authors explain: “In Alberta, supports received by a single employable person and a person with a disability are among the lowest in the country, and those for a single parent with one child are the lowest.”

According to the authors, Alberta should set an example for the rest of the country by creating a comprehensive long-term plan that ensures the highest possible quality of life for all Albertans. They recommend many changes the government could make, including: 1) reinstating a progressive tax system, eliminate health premiums and introduce measures to reduce revenues from gambling and consumption taxes; 2) increasing all social assistance rates to above the poverty line; 3) raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour and indexing it to inflation; 4) introducing benefits for part-time workers; 5) committing sufficient funding to implement all of the Learning Commission’s recommendations; and 6) eliminating tuition fees at all Alberta universities and colleges, and increase base operating grants to both to compensate accordingly.

The authors conclude that to guarantee Alberta’s future, the provincial government will need to maximize the rents received from fossil fuels and increase royalty fees. In addition, they suggest the province must develop a clear strategy for both savings and investments that will build a diverse and sustainable economy for the future.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Parkland Institute;
Publisher: Parkland Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Education / Primary Education
Policy Articles / Education / Secondary Education
Policy Articles / Education / Post-secondary Education
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Reform
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Tax Policy
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Federal & Provincial Budget
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Energy
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Oil & Gas
Policy Articles / Economy / Provincial Economy
Policy Articles / Economy / State of the Economy
Policy Articles / Economy / Economic Forecast
Policy Articles / Economy / Economic Forecast / 2005
Policy Articles / Economy / Provincial Economy / 2005
Policy Articles / Economy / State of the Economy / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Post-secondary Education / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Primary Education / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Secondary Education / 2005
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Federal & Provincial Budget / 2005
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Tax Policy / 2005
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Reform / 2005
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Energy / 2005
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Oil & Gas / 2005
Policy Articles / Economy
Policy Articles / Education
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral


Keywords / Tags:

socially sustainable & equitable economy; progressive taxation; regressive taxes; Learning Commission; K-12 education; post-secondary education; health care premiums; poverty; inequality; homelessness; increase minimum wage; part-time worker benefits; eliminate tuition fees; fossil fuel rents & royalties;