Only months before he rides into his political sunset, a confused Premier Ed Stelmach blamed the Alberta Teachers’ Association for the school board budget shortfalls that may lead to the lay-off of over 1,000 teachers. Reacting to a protest that attracted hundreds of parents to the Legislature last weekend, Premier Stelmach told reporters that his government was not to blame for the budget shortfall.
The ATA quickly replied on Twitter:
“The Premier’s statement today is incorrect. Government pulled out of talks with ATA and school boards when the Premier resigned.”
In today’s Edmonton Journal, Minister Hancock restated his earlier comments, putting him at odds with Premier Stelmach’s statements:
“I think the premier may have characterized this a little too bluntly,” Hancock said. “The ATA was there and was prepared to talk.”
As word of the teacher lay-offs broke last week, Premier Stelmach traveled across the province announcing the construction of $550 million in new school construction and renovations. This left many Albertans puzzled about how the Premier could be making these large capital spending announcements while being unwilling to step in to stop the lay-off of teachers who would teach in those new classrooms.