Some applaud, some boo: Alberta reacts to budget 2017
'The silver lining here is certainly that there are no new tax surprises for Albertans'
Albertans weigh in on the NDP's heavy spending budget for 2017, which includes money for new schools, upgrades to hospitals and infrastructure, housing, new positions in the Justice Ministry and energy-efficiency programs.
Some see the investments as overdue while others say the government needs to rein in spending and chip away at the $10.3 billion deficit.
Guy Smith, president, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
"I'm hearing more and more from my members who work the front lines in the court system — the court clerks, the administrative staff — they are desperate for some support and hopefully this measure taken by the government today will provide them with that support so our court systems can run the way they should be."
Paige MacPherson, Alberta director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
"The silver lining here is certainly that there are no new tax surprises for Albertans. So of course taxes are increasing, the carbon tax is going to be increasing come Jan. 1, Albertans are going to be paying more taxes, the government is going to be collecting more tax revenue over the next few years, but no new tax surprises in this budget, thank goodness."
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Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson
"I'm very happy to see long-overdue investments in health care, infrastructure, growth and upgrades in Edmonton. I think physicians, practitioners and patients have been waiting for an awful long time for the first step of work at the Royal Alex, upgrades to the [Misericordia] and a growth hospital for the city. So very encouraged by those announcements."
Treaty 6 Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild
- $100 million over four years for clean water in First Nations communities
"I'm very, very encouraged and thankful that this is happening. In this day and age, we shouldn't have to be our boiling our water still or having signs 'Do not drink this water' on the reserves. Indeed in my own home, we've had to buy water for the last 15 years. So it's a very important step, not only for me personally but at least for the Treaty 6 communities to have that access to clean water."
- A two-per-cent increase in funding for post-secondary institutions and a tuition freeze.
"I think that the tuition freeze is definitely a signal from the government to students that they care about affordability and they care about accessibility, because a lot of students are shut out of post-secondary based on the high cost it is to attend in the first place, and I'm really hopeful that in the future we will see things like reduction of tuition or offsetting grants to help more students enter the system."
"The government has stepped up and said we're in these tough financial times, we're willing to make post-secondary education a priority and give it [a] two-per-cent increase. And I think that's really good news for us, it's going to allow us to maintain the quality of our programming, it'll allow us to maintain access for students."
"We were left a mess by the PCs, we're still getting out of the recession. I would like to see a plan and I think we have to start talking as adults in this house about a way to get out of this debt. We have to think about future generations. We have to start paying more of our debt load today, and I think we need to start talking about a PST in this province."
-The 2017 budget includes $500 million in funding for 24 new and modernized schools across the province
"This is very positive news for us. I applaud their efforts to maintain opportunities for Alberta children in their educational experience."
"It was wonderful to come into the budget and hear Minister Ceci say that they're going to twin the Highway 15 bridge at Fort Saskatchewan. This is a bridge that's needed twinning or remediation, something done to it for the last 40 years and it really is about moving traffic and saving lives. Having this bridge twinned, we are looking so forward to it, it is going to make such a difference to the community and the region."