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Danielle In QP, November 20: Capital Infrastructure Financing
Ms Smith: Now, Mr. Speaker, my debt question. This government is taking us back into debt to cover the basics like roads and schools. They have a variety of stories to cover it, but the stories keep on changing, especially when you listen to what they said before the election, what they said during the election, and what they’re saying now. The Premier blames the change on the fiscal reality, saying that the economy is forcing them to take on debt, yet yesterday the Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar was telling us that employment is up, private forecasts are bright. Housing starts, retail sales, and manufacturing: they’re all up. But the Premier thinks there’s a downturn. Which is it? Are we in trouble or not?
Ms Redford: It was very interesting last week to be at AAMD and C, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, and to talk about community investment, to talk about schools and hospitals and roads and water systems. We made a commitment on April 23 that we would build Alberta for the future, that we would not look back, and that we would be a pragmatic government for Alberta. Now, I don’t know what the Leader of the Official Opposition thinks has happened in the past eight months, but one of the things that you need to be able to do if you want to be a good government that reflects the values of the people that elected you is to understand – hear it, Mr. Speaker – that sometimes things change. Good government adapts to that, and that’s what we’re doing.
The Speaker: The hon. member.
Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good governments keep their election promises.
Now, the Premier made an election promise to build and renovate 120 schools and said that it would be paid from budget surpluses. It was obvious after the election that there would be no PC budget surpluses. Rather than adjust spending, the Premier is now determined to go into debt. Why don’t they cut their wasteful spending, balance the budget, and build schools?
Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I just can’t miss this opportunity. Good governments keep their promises. Good oppositions keep their promises, too. I would suggest to the Leader of the Official Opposition that she should be preoccupied for the next two or three days with her upcoming convention and how she will keep her promise and not turn her party into Wildrose Lite and talk about conscience rights and talk about all the switches that they have done. That is something that the Leader of the Official Opposition should be concerning herself with right now.
Ms Smith: At least, the media are invited to our convention. The government did not campaign on alternative financing. They did not make election speeches about going to the capital markets. They did not put going into debt into their campaign brochures. If they’re so convinced it’s a good idea now, why didn’t they mention it in April during the election?
Mr. Horner: Well, Mr. Speaker, I’m going to rise again and say what I said yesterday, and that was that we did tell Albertans that we were going to use alternative financing. We passed the budget in this House, which had it in the budget. I would also say as a past member of the Klein cabinet and a past member of his Treasury Board that he understood that you use certain financial tools in certain financial circumstances. In fact, Premier Klein was the first Premier of Alberta to use alternatively funded P3 projects. The Anthony Henday ring road in Edmonton in 2005 showed that he knew when to do things differently and to make the right changes.