Danielle in QP, November 1: Fiscal Accountability

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The government is patting itself on the back for another consultation and, surprise,  it has delivered exactly the results that they were hoping for. Another surprise is that it’s exactly the opposite of what Albertans said about debt when they were polled this summer. In that same speech I mentioned, where the Premier talked about raising the accountability bar, she also said this: we need to ensure that our actions are fair to this generation and to those that follow. To the Finance minister: how does racking up more debt and borrowing more money square with that statement?

Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, we actually went out and we did six different ways of doing consultations so that we could make sure that what we were getting was an accurate representation of what Albertans were telling us. We did the online survey, which the hon. member alludes to. We also did electronic submissions. Just to name a few, I had in-person discussions with people like the chair of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; the board chair emeritus of the University of Calgary; the chair of the public policy institute, University of Calgary; the former dean of the School of Business, U of A; the managing director of the national bank. In addition to that, we also did presentations by mail. We had one-on-one meetings. We had online open houses. We did a number of these things.

The Speaker: The hon. leader, first supplemental.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The research done in June by Think HQ did a scientific poll of a thousand Albertans and found that only 7 per cent thought that going deeper into debt was a good idea – that’s just 7 per cent – yet the minister wants us to believe that his consultation gives him the green light to spill more red ink. Why does he still insist that going into debt is a good idea?

Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, it’s interesting. Think HQ is the same one that thought that they were going to be the government next time.

To that end, Mr. Speaker, in 1971 Albertans rejected Social Credit finance policy and chose Progressive Conservative policy. In April of this year Albertans rejected Social Credit finance policy and chose Progressive Conservative finance policy.

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, given that the Premier is committed to raising the bar on transparency and accountability, will the Finance minister obey his own law and disclose the full picture, all the details, in the next fiscal update?

Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, I did, I will, and it’s going to be a great one.