Cabinet Shuffle Full of Mixed Messages
Statement from Acting Leader Jacquie Fenske on the Cabinet Shuffle:
We welcome the new Municipal Affairs Minister and wish her well. As a backbencher, Tracy Allard worked hard in her appointments to travel the province and listen to Albertans. We trust that she will continue this work with municipal Councils. There is great opportunity for the government to build better communities by rolling up its sleeves to work alongside local elected representatives.
However, the Premier is not setting his new Minister up for success. He is tying her hands with his adversarial approach to other orders of government. He has downloaded costs, removed revenue streams, and refused to allow for new funding methods such as Municipal Bonds. And today, he said municipalities must do the impossible: accept all of this without raising their taxes (and presumably without reducing services). This isn't a reset of the provincial-municipal relationship. Instead, it is doubling down on big government by telling local communities "the province knows best." And it is a continued refusal to acknowledge that the UCP is taking steps that will have huge impacts on local services or taxes.
We agree with the Premier that local municipalities need to be sharply focused on growing and diversifying the economy. However, they cannot do that without strong provincial collaboration. We hope that the Premier will stop with his aggressive rhetoric, and let Minister Allard enable municipalities to build strong, resilient, and successful communities.