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September 4, 2019

Varcoe: Alberta must take some tough medicine to balance its books, MacKinnon panel says

Like a gambler on a losing streak, Alberta has posted deficits in nine of the past 10 years and watched its financial position slide by almost $60 billion, while running the highest per-person spending of any provincial government in Canada.

How on earth can an energy-fuelled province in the midst of an economic slump balance its budget books in four short years and pay off its entire debt in 25 years?

report released Tuesday by a blue-ribbon panel examining the province’s finances says the feat is possible, but will require taking some bitter medicine, such as freezing expenditures for four consecutive years and cutting at least $600 million out of annual operating spending.

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“Albertans can see how out of line our spending is with other provinces, and we’ve been paying for a Mercedes and in many instances been getting a Buick,” added Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta.

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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.

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