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Danielle In QP, November 19: Capital Infrastructure Financing
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m going to get to the illegal donation scandal in a minute, but first, over the break the Premier officially broke her promise to balance the budget and is taking Alberta back into debt. She claims there’s been a change in the fiscal reality. The fiscal reality is this: PC governments have blown through our savings, they’ve squandered our prosperity, and now they have to borrow to cover the basics, like building roads and schools. They can’t prioritize. That is the reality. When are they going to balance the entire budget? Is it going to be this year, next year, or never?
Mr. Lukaszuk: Well, Mr. Speaker, you don’t have the luxury in this House of dealing with some matters later and some matters sooner. As a matter of fact, this member has been rising in this House and accusing many members on this side of the aisle, including the Premier, of inappropriate conduct, of inappropriate donations. Guess what? Today we find out that while attending a federal Conservative fundraiser, she expected the Alberta taxpayers to eat the cost of those tickets by claiming them from taxpayers not only for herself but also for her husband.
Ms Smith: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lukaszuk: While accusing the Premier of maintaining Law Society membership, this member, as a matter of fact, has expected Alberta taxpayers to pay for her Chamber of Commerce membership.
Mr. Anderson: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Questions about Political Party Activity
The Speaker: Hon. members, we’ve noted a point of order from the Leader of the Official Opposition. We’ve noted another point of order from the Member for Airdrie. We aren’t even through our very first question and answer, and we’re already running on that fine line of disorder. I’m not going to let that happen.
I’m going to remind future questioners and future responders that under no circumstances are you to bring issues into this Assembly that pertain to party business. I don’t care which party it is, and I don’t care which member it is, government or opposition. The rule is the same for both sides of the House.
Hon. Leader of the Opposition, please proceed.
Capital Infrastructure Financing
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Finance minister says that there are two components to budgeting. There are operations, and there’s capital. It looks to me like there are two components to PC budgeting. It’s actually overspending and borrowing. The Premier now blames her choice to go into debt on decisions that were made 15 years ago by her predecessor’s predecessor. When will she take responsibility for our finances because she has overpromised, mismanaged, and is now personally taking us back into debt?
Mr. Horner: You know, Mr. Speaker, there’s financial literacy, there’s literacy, and I would ask the hon. members whether perhaps they need some remediation in the literacy component. Frankly, this was part of the budget that was delivered this spring. There was a component in there that talked about alternative financing. We will continue to do that. We haven’t blown through Albertans’ savings. The Alberta heritage savings trust fund is there. The sustainability fund is there. You don’t let ideology and dogma punish Albertans and make them wait for the infrastructure they need today and take all of the tools out of your toolbox.
The Speaker: The hon. leader.
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The government has blown through our savings. It was a high of $15 billion. It’s going to be wiped out within the next year or two. The Finance minister is in love with the household mortgage analogy as he tries to spin this debt and borrowing as something else. A household mortgage is paid by the homeowner. It’s not passed on to the homeowner’s children and grandchildren. If the minister can’t balance the budget today, when budget revenues are at record highs, why does he think that it is going to be easier at some point in the future?
Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, the kids in that home enjoy that home while they’re there, and then they’ll buy a home afterwards. Let me go back to this, though. Alternative financing is nothing new to this government. We’ve been doing alternative financing since 2005. It would probably do the opposition a little good to do some homework for a change as opposed to simply reading what they produce themselves. The tools that we have at our disposal are for proper financial management. That includes P3s. That includes borrowing. That includes capital financing through other markets or other means, including bonds.
The Speaker: The hon. leader. Second main set of questions.
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They did not campaign on going back into debt.