LtE bug

Letter: Not in agreement with Canadian Taxpayers Federation

I am writing in regards to the Advocate article on June 1 Taxpayer watchdog slams college, university staff raises about the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) slamming post-secondary education for “handing out pay raises to professors and bureaucrats.”

I would like to note that these raises are negotiated contractual terms of employment, not unwarranted bonuses.

The CTF’s message is simple: you should resent post-secondary institutions for misusing tax dollars. This claim is false, and it uses the pandemic as justification to slash funding further.

The CTF is not a government body, but its key architects are largely conservative personalities including now-Premier Jason Kenney and former Alberta director and national research director Derek Fildebrandt. Like BC’s Fraser Institute, the CTF appoints itself to police and to criticize any government spending. The CTF prefers the term “taxpayers” over “citizens” or “people” to reduce public life to strictly economic terms.

Frequently invoking “hard-working Albertans,” the federation ties our identity to our ability to labour, to earn a living, and ultimately to pay taxes. Using resentment against taxation, the agency turns people against education, healthcare, and other public services.

The article argues that Olds College was irresponsible in granting $161,056 on agreed-upon pay raises for 135 employees, or $1,193 each. Compared to Kenney’s $1.5 billion “handout” to TC Energy, the same 135 employees would see $11 million each. This enormous economic difference encapsulates the different perceptions of public and private institutions. KXL created no jobs and no pipeline at an enormous cost to the public.

Public institutions are under attack in Alberta from a government that doesn’t believe in government but in privatizing public services. They attack teachers and healthcare professionals as lazy, entitled, and bureaucratic in order to justify massive budget cuts. In the case of post-secondary education, tuition will increase, not to fund the salaries of professors but to compensate for budget cuts from the government. Alberta deserves better. As a citizen, you deserve better.

Roger Davis, Red Deer

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