EDMONTON, AB (January 24, 2013): Premier Alison Redford has once again failed to articulate a clear plan for balancing the budget and rescuing Alberta’s fiscal future in her television address this evening, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. Leader Danielle Smith said the address was mostly recycled from Redford’s typical wishy-washy position on the budget; vague promises to maintain core services and tough talk on responsible spending without any specifics.
"Albertans tuned into to hear the Premier's address tonight hoping for a new direction. Instead, all they got was a bad re-run,” Smith said. “Instead of a bold new direction to get us out of the mess they’ve put us in, all we got was more empty platitudes and meaningless promises. Tonight was a test of Premier Redford’s leadership, and she has failed.” Under Redford’s leadership, the PCs have exploded the deficit, returned to debt, nearly drained provincial savings accounts and are preparing to increase taxes on Alberta families and businesses. During the campaign, Wildrose put forward a comprehensive plan to get Alberta back on track towards balanced budgets and savings called the Balanced Budget and Savings Act. The Act would have set limits on annual spending increases, focused spending on the front lines and rebuilt the Alberta Heritage Savings and Trust Fund. “Albertans are craving leadership on the fiscal front. They want to see a leader take charge and get things back on track,” Smith said. “Premier Redford simply is not that leader.” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said Redford’s attempts tonight to pin the blame for the budget crisis on the oil price differential are deliberately misleading and ignore the true cause of Alberta’s financial woes – unprecedented annual spending increases by successive PC governments. The price differential when the 2012 budget was announced (with an expected deficit of only $886 million) was $36.24. Today, with the deficit at over $3 billion and growing, the differential stands at $37.20 – less than a $1 difference. “Premier Redford is trying to invent a economic crisis where there simply isn’t one,” Anderson said. “Alberta continues to have a revenue stream other provinces can only dream of. There is one reason and one reason only why we are in this situation today: Year after year of PC mismanagement and wasteful spending have finally caught up to us and Premier Redford lacks the backbone or competence to fix it.”