The last provincial budget estimated the government will run deficits until 2023/24.
The severity of Alberta’s fiscal problems hit home with many Albertans this week as Premier Prentice announced that the upcoming provincial budget will include an across-the-board five per cent spending cut.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is in the midst of formulating his first budget and the fiscal path of the province while watching oil prices continue to decline.
With Ralph Kleins passing, many have tried to find a constant theme in his political life. The late premier was, to be sure, a populist. What else explains his reputation as a big spender when mayor of Calgary and then his switch to a prudent premier?
The explanation is not complicated: once the bills come due, even a populist politician will change course when the public sours on policy gimmicks, when they demand a government focus on the basics. That includes not bankrupting public finances or assuming taxpayers can be increasingly gouged to pay for political vote buying.