Edmonton, October 6, 2015 – PC Caucus today welcomed the news the Auditor General will review the current new and modernized school builds under way in Alberta.
“We trust the Auditor General will conduct a thorough review, including the Fiscal Plan 2014-17 and Fiscal Plan 2015-20 that were part of the 2014 and 2015 budgets,” said Interim PC Leader Ric McIver, MLA for Calgary-Hays. “It’s baffling the Minister of Education would question the changes when the only change is the Minister himself. The department has the same staff, the same planners and the same public consultation. Only the political direction has changed.”
“Our priority was the construction of the schools because those project are absolutely necessary for the success of our children,” said PC Infrastructure Critic Manmeet Bhullar, MLA for Calgary-Greenway. “Our government stated repeatedly that these projects were a constant infrastructure priority and our team pushed extremely hard to ensure every project was completed within the allotted time frame. We made this a major priority from the outset. Many schools were also tendered this spring. I would like to know what happened with those tenders. Were they issued? Were they closed tenders approved by Alberta Education and Infrastructure?”
“We appreciate there are natural delays when a government changes,” said PC Seniors Critic Richard Gotfried, MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek. “However, we’re seeing a similar situation in capital building projects with respect to ASLI grants. We have heard from several grant recipients who say the Health Minister told them after the election that their previously-approved projects were put on hold pending a review. They are still waiting to hear those projects can go ahead. We hope that the delay in school builds and modernizations the government is talking about today is not due to a similar internal partisan review process.”
“From what we can determine of the schedule of delays, comparing the list in May 2015 and again at the beginning of October, the vast majority of the delays in school builds and modernizations appear to be for exactly a four-month period,” said PC Education Critic Sandra Jansen, MLA for Calgary-North West. “We question why that delay has taken place, including the high number of school builds and modernizations that have yet to be put out to tender or have been closed, and hope the government plans to get these projects in the queue as soon as possible.”