While it remains unclear when the provincial budget will be handed down, it will be coming — the first for the United Conservative government.
It’s raising questions about how the budget will impact Edmonton, which is home to a large part of the provincial work force.
This week, Edmonton-South West MLA and Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu sat down with Global News to speak about a range of issues, including the upcoming budget.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Vinesh Pratap: Does that mean we’re going to be dealing with layoffs? I know you can’t say too much about the budget, but should we be prepared?
Kaycee Madu: I think that the people of Alberta understand we have some difficult decisions to make. We did not sugarcoat anything. We were clear about the challenges we are going to face, to our people, and they elected us. I think there is a reasonable expectation that they expect us to tackle the debt. They expect us to tackle the deficit.
In the recently released Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances, there are three recommendations that deal with public sector compensation, including:
Recommendation 12: Establish a legislative mandate that sets the salary levels for all public sector employees, including all fees and other compensation for insured medical and health services and all third parties, and applies to all negotiations and arbitrations. In the event of a strike, the mandate would form the basis for back-to-work legislation.
KM: As a government, we are focused on the problems we have inherited from the previous government and where our economy is at today. My message for Edmontonians — and this is a message I have for all Albertans — is we need to be on the same page. All of us are going to have to work together to rein in financial sanity once again.
In his interview, Global News also asked the minister about the responsibilities municipalities take on, with concerns raised at times from taxpayers about duplication of services.
VP: As the minister in charge of this portfolio, any concern from your point of view of, basically, municipalities playing outside their sandbox?
KM: As minister, I think I have been clear to our municipal partners that we are a government that is focused on making sure we rebuild our province, attract investment to our communities. And so my expectation is councils across our province would be to work with us. We are working so hard to eliminate waste in the system. We are not increasing taxes on our people. So, all of this should be a signal to councils across our province.
Madu was elected in April becoming the only UCP MLA from Edmonton in government.