Danielle In The House, November 19: Capital Infrastructure Financing

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last week a great Albertan received a long-overdue honour. Former Premier Ralph Klein was given the Order of Canada at a small ceremony in Calgary. Colleen Klein accepted the honour on his behalf while wearing one of Ralph’s old campaign buttons.

Premier Klein is and always will be one of Alberta’s iconic leaders, his warmth and personal touch matched only by his unwavering commitment to his promises and his determination to see them through. His legacy: Alberta liberated from deficits and debt, able to meet its priorities and put money in the bank for the future. This is a legacy Albertans are proud of. It’s a shame the government members don’t share that pride. No sooner was Klein’s induction announced than senior ministers of this government were out pitching opinion pieces that blasted the former Premier’s debt-slaying legacy.

Of course, nothing says more about their contempt for Klein’s legacy than their decision to take us backwards, back into debt. This government’s rationale for returning us to the Getty era, that Albertans have to choose between schools, roads, hospitals, or debt, is ridiculous.

In Wildrose’s balanced budget alternative we show that Alberta could spend $50 billion on infrastructure over the next 10 years and remain debt and deficit free. We believe that $50 billion spent in a transparent and prioritized manner is enough to build the infrastructure that Albertans demand and need.

The government’s case, that debt is needed to finance high priority infrastructure, is wrong, and it’s an insult to Albertans. Albertans know that high-priority items are just that, high priority.

They get paid for first, no debt required. The real reason debt is back, Mr. Speaker, is because this government can’t say no to any of its pet projects, corporate welfare, new MLA offices, and seemingly endless pay hikes. It’s an affront to the Klein legacy, a legacy this government seems all too willing to ditch.