CALGARY, AB (NOVEMBER 28, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan released the following statement in response to the Government’s Budget 2017 2nd Quarter fiscal update:
“I’m deeply disappointed that the NDP continue to play games with our fiscal update instead of being honest with Albertans.
“Take their claim that they have reduced the deficit, for example. While it is true we are looking at $138 million reduction, the government fails to accurately represent what a small change that is when we are facing a $10.3 billion deficit.
“Furthermore, that small reduction is not the result of good fiscal management. It’s the result of direct borrowing and the draining of $250 million from Alberta’s “risk adjustment” Contingency Fund. This harkens back the “Fudgit Budgets” of old PC governments. The NDP seem to be content with playing numbers games instead of taking real action to address Alberta’s ongoing and unsustainable deficits of $10 billion and climbing.
“Equally concerning is the rosy picture they are trying to paint of a jobless recovery. Calgarians are still feeling the impacts of massive job losses in the energy sector. Unemployment stubbornly sitting at 8% is one of several indicators of this. The fact that our bankruptcy rates are soaring and income tax revenue is significantly down are others.
“Worst of all, this is yet another fiscal update that reminds us just how much Alberta is trapped on the resource roller coaster. The government has made no real effort to address our systematic over-reliance on volatile resource revenue. Instead, it continues to budget around overly optimistic projections, and yet again Alberta’s finances pay the price as the WTI price/barrel of oil projection declines $6 per barrel.
“Alberta would require over 25% of its revenue to come directly from resources in order to balance our budget. By this metric, we are actually more resource dependent than we were two years ago, as stated by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe.
“Alberta needs job creation policy that actually works, a clear and realistic plan for shrinking the deficit, and a thoughtful overhaul of our broken fiscal system that finally roots Alberta’s economic future in solid ground instead of gambling on unpredictable oil prices. I look forward to presenting more elements of the Liberal fiscal plan to Albertans during the Calgary-Lougheed by-election.