More than 200 gather to protest funding cuts

An information picket to protest provincial government funding cuts to health, eduction and the public service attracted more than 200 people last.
Workers representing the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, United Nurses of Alberta, Health Sciences Association of Alberta, community members and concerned citizens gathered in the Claresholm downtown parking lot on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and took to the streets.
Karen Weiers, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said the information picket was organized to protest government cuts.
Their concern is with the loss of jobs.
“And the loss of services that will affect all Albertans,” Weiers said.
“What will this do to the community if a lot of the public sector workers lose their jobs?” she continued.
Weiers also pointed to what she called a government more interested in providing tax breaks to corporations of $4.7 billion, which goes against the interests of Albertans who elected them.
“It (should) always be people before profit,” she said.
More than 200 people registered for the protest with several others also attending who did not sign up.
“It was a huge demonstration,” Weiers said. “What that shows is this community is concerned.”
She noted the decisions of the provincial government could result in 5,900 full-time equivalent jobs being lost, which will affect more people when two or more part-time people can make up one full-time equivalent position.
Weiers said her membership is staring at about 400 full-time equivalent jobs being lost.
The goal of the information picket was simple. “To bring awareness and show the government the path they are on is not what Albertans want,” Weiers said. “The turn-out today for a small community like Claresholm showed that.”
“This government is not following the platform they ran on,” she said, which was to protect Albertans, jobs, and services.
“What we are seeing now is they are gutting it.”