My reaction to the provincial budget.
It’s hard to build trust without cooperation. It’s almost impossible to build a city without a province.
Nearly five months ago, I met with Premier Kenney for the first time after I became Mayor. I came to that first meeting with hopes of resetting our relationship with the provincial government. I was ready and able to collaborate with the province and to solve issues that matter Edmontonians. That’s why today’s provincial budget announcement — neglecting to fund even our bare-minimum asks — is so disheartening.
- We have Edmontonians struggling with houselessness. We asked the province for the bare-minimum support to house folks and to provide wrap-around social service to help them heal. They didn’t support us.
- We asked for matching funding to unlock $30+ million in federal support to keep our transit running so Edmonton can live, work, and keep our economy moving. They didn’t support us.
- Our city’s bid for the FIFA World Cup has the potential to generate more than $700 million dollars in economic return for Alberta. They didn’t support us.
- We had asks for reconciliation, energy transition and climate change mitigation, libraries, capital projects, and other issues important to citizens. They didn’t support us.
Our needs have not been met in this budget. Edmonton has been left out.
Houselessness, drug poisonings, economic revitalization, and cultural investments are still our four priority issues. I asked for bare minimum support from the Province as they created their budget in hopes that my months spent building this relationship would pay-off for Edmontonians. It did not, and for that I am sorry. But I am also incredibly frustrated and disappointed in the lack of care this government shows for Edmonton.
I have heard that some people see our budget asks as looking for a handout. That is simply not the case. As your City Council, part of our job is to advocate to the Province to get a fair deal for Edmontonians. We’re the second-largest city in Alberta with more than one million people calling Edmonton home and we make outsized contributions that greatly impact the success of Alberta.
When Edmonton succeeds, Alberta succeeds and this government needs to know that.
It breaks my heart to think about all the good we could have done if we had received any of our funding asks. Austerity will never solve these issues. By ignoring our needs, the Province has downloaded its responsibility to municipalities and individuals.
Though this is not what we wanted, I will not let the 2022 Budget undermine the good work done by thousands of Edmontonians. Over the next few weeks, I will work with my council colleagues to see how we can leverage municipal capacity to pick up what the province has dropped. It is an incredibly frustrating situation, but I will continue to try to work with the Province despite their decisions today.
I value the trust that all Edmontonians have put in me and my council colleagues. I serve you, the citizens and I will continue to fight for your interests and right to a safe, vibrant, and fulfilling life in our city.