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Alberta unions put pressure on UCP government with new campaign

Alberta unions launch campaign protesting UCP cuts
WATCH: Alberta unions have launched a new campaign to ramp up pressure on the UCP government. They say the province's austerity plans are not what Albertans had voted for. Julia Wong reports.

Unions in Alberta are hoping to ramp up the pressure on the UCP government with the launch of a website called “Not What I Voted For.”

The campaign, authorized by the Alberta Federation of Labour, comes at a time when the UCP is making cuts to education and healthcare.

READ MORE: Edmontonians attend ‘Resistance Town Hall’ amid fears of major cuts to Alberta’s public sector workforce

“Instead of jobs, jobs, jobs, we’re cutting – cuts, cuts, cuts,” said AFL president Gil McGowan.

McGowan said, with the campaign, Albertans can email their MLAs and cabinet ministers; they are also being encouraged to share their concerns and experiences on social media.

READ MORE: Arbitrator decides some Alberta public sector workers will get raise; UCP says job cuts possible

“We’re going to put the heat on the UCP and remind them that, while they did win the last election, they didn’t actually receive a mandate from Albertans to do the many things they’re doing right now,” McGowan said.

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READ MORE: Alberta Union of Provincial Employees bracing for up to 5,900 government job cuts

McGowan said that the UCP has the right to make its decisions but he said there may be consequences for the candidates at the ballot box or in terms of labour action.

Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, believes the campaign can make a difference.

READ MORE: Alberta Health Services cutting hundreds of nursing positions: UNA and NDP

“What we’re going to try to do is gather those people to magnify that conversation. It’s not just individuals, we’re all in this together,” he said.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said, in response to the campaign, that the UCP were elected to bring fiscal responsibility to the province.

READ MORE: Kenney: Opposition, unions treating budget cuts like the ‘the apocalypse’

“We’ve been transparent and clear with Albertans and unions. Budget 2019 and Budget 2020 have no provision for wage increases,” he said.

Toews said he looks forward to working with unions coming forward.