MLA Mark Smith Response to NDP Education Minister David Eggen’s Column

This is a response to NDP Education Minister David Eggen’s column (“Students at risk with Jason Kenney”) which was recently submitted to newspapers across the province:

NDP Education Minister David Eggen’s recent letter to the editor (“Students at risk with Jason Kenney”) is baseless, the latest in a fear and smear campaign from a desperate, out-of-touch NDP government that’s unable to run on its own record after nearly four years of mismanagement.

The United Conservatives have been clear and consistent: we will look to balance Alberta’s finances without cuts to services like education and health.

The actual threat to those services comes from the NDP’s mismanagement.

The NDP government has made nothing short of a mess of our province’s finances: the last budget put taxpayers on track for $100 billion in debt by 2023. This year alone, Alberta taxpayers will pay $2 billion in interest on the NDP government’s reckless debt. To put that in context, that’s more than the budget of 19 out of 23 government departments.

Today alone, Alberta taxpayers will pay over $5 million in interest payments on NDP government debt. Taxpayer dollars that actually could have gone to teachers and schools.

Instead, it’s going to bankers and bondholders elsewhere in the country.

At a time when the economy was already on the decline, the Alberta NDP hiked taxes, thereby discouraging employers and job-creators from investing in Alberta. Indeed, despite the tax hike, Alberta collected billions less in tax revenue than before the NDP’s tax grab.

Again, revenue that could have gone to services like education, but these details were curiously absent in Mr. Eggen’s desperate attack.

Across communities across Alberta, NDP government policies have only made a bad situation worse. Statistics Canada data shows that those unemployed today are waiting three times longer to return to work than they were just 10 years ago, if they return to work at all.

The NDP opposed needed job-creating pipeline projects like Northern Gateway, and after taking office remained silent when their Trudeau Liberal allies in Ottawa followed through on a promise to scrap it.

Their actions and inactions have delayed several other important job-creating projects, like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Again, all projects that could have benefited our economy and better positioned us to support services in our community, like teachers and schools for our kids.

It’s no surprise that an out-of-touch NDP government, unable to run on their own record and currently campaigning on taxpayer dollars, is resorting to escalating fear-mongering. However, our United Conservative caucus colleagues and I will focus on restoring the Alberta advantage and standing up for communities that have been forgotten by the NDP.

Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon, is United Conservative Education Critic