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Second quarter update paints troubling fiscal picture: Anderson

EDMONTON, AB (November 26, 2014): With the price of oil heading to $70 a barrel, today’s second quarter fiscal update shows Alberta  is in need of immediate course correction to protect the sustainability of the province’s finances and core government services, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said today.

Despite claims of a surplus from the government, the province is now on pace to run a $3.13 billion deficit for this year with record revenues.  The province is set to borrow $2.4 billion this year and is on pace to be $19 billion in debt by 2016-17.

Anderson said today’s update shows there is emerging fiscal crisis developing that needs to be addressed immediately.

“We can no longer run our province based on what OPEC is doing in the Middle East. It’s upsetting and disturbing,” Anderson said. “We need to recalibrate our budget so we’re no longer hoping for oil to be at $110 just to pay our bills. If we don’t, we leave the future of our province at risk by crushing future generations with debt and finance charges.”

After years of mismanagement from the PC government, Anderson called for MLAs from all parties to come together to hammer out a new multi-year fiscal plan that will balance the budget, eliminate the need for additional debt and save for the future.

“We still have time to correct our course, but our window of opportunity is shrinking,” Anderson said. “We can’t plan to keep borrowing billions of dollars indefinitely hoping that oil prices will bail us out.  This isn’t something that will be fixed overnight, but Albertans expect everyone in the legislature to come up with a solution.”