Premier Rachel Notley begins selling the Alberta budget today with a state-of-the-province address in Edmonton.
Notley is being skewered by opposition critics for a budget that includes a 10-billion-dollar deficit, 58 billion dollars in debt within three years, and no plan to balance the books before 2024.
But her government says it’s the right thing to do given the devastation to the economy due to the prolonged slump in oil prices.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci says to begin gutting programs and slashing public sector jobs would only make a bad situation worse.
The leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative says the sheer size of the debt being racked up by the N-D-P government will reverberate for years.
Ric McIver was commenting on the new provincial budget, which keeps front-line services intact and continues an accelerated infrastructure program, despite low oil prices.
Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark finds a 10-billion-dollar deficit this year shocking, but says it’s at least partially offset by a plan to offer new tax incentives to create jobs.
Guy Smith, head of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, says in light of low oil prices the government is making the best of a bad situation.
(The Canadian Press)