In April of 2009, the Government of Alberta brought down and voted in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, projecting a $4.7 billion dollar deficit. This included a $2 billion promise to invest in Carbon Capture and Storage (a subject I have discussed at length on this blog).
In June of 2009 the Alberta Finance Minister asked Alberta’s public sector to just find $4 billion to cut somehow from somewhere. ‘Just let the Government know when you have figured it out’ kind of thing.
In July of 2009 Premier Ed Stelmach announced the retraction of the alcohol tax in Alberta and made a public and decisive promise to not raise current taxes or levy new ones.
In August of 2009, first quarter results looks like an announcement to the tune of a $6 – $8 billion deficit. This comes alongside a curious lack of Stelmach presence in Alberta. This also comes along side the decisions mentioned above in relation of Alberta’s financial path.
My concerns are not with a provincial deficit. We are not protected against the rest of the world, which should resonate quite strongly since our major source of revenue is a world commodity and we trade globally ( or at the very least, trade to America which seems to think they are the globe…). My concerns are, that when this happened to Alberta in the early/mid nineties we reacted strongly and quickly and cut services across the board to every sector publicly administered in Alberta.
It paid off the debt yes, but look how far that has gotten us.