At times, living in Alberta can be like living on an economic rollercoaster. We’ve seen and felt the highs and lows a number of times over the past decades, but we have never felt the uncertainty of economic recovery in our province like we do now.
The current NDP government’s response to the economic slowdown and uncertainty has been much like the Progressive Conservative government under former premier Don Getty. Continued government spending, increased taxes, increased deficit, long-term debt and “government investment” in economic diversification. What does all this mean for the future of Albertans?
It’s actually fairly simple. Deficits and long-term debts either must be repaid or financed. The NDP government has decided that increasing our province’s debt level and deficit financing current programs is more important today. When looking at the current government’s own projections, even a balanced budget is years away, but the debt financing will continue many years beyond the projected balanced budget date. Bottom line, today we are enjoying government services that our children, grandchildren and future Albertans will be paying for generations.
With the current election campaigning and costly social spending promises being made, I am deeply concerned that Premier Notley hasn’t learned from past government’s decisions. What I am seeing, and hearing is deficits and debt financing will continue. What I have not heard is Premier Notley seriously mention fiscal restraint or fiscal moderation. How sustainable are our essential social programs and without adding more social spending to our increasing debt levels? What do these increasing debt levels mean to future generations?
Having spent many years working in Alberta public service, I realize there is no quick fix to our province’s current fiscal issues. That being said, debt financing current social programs comes at a huge cost to future Albertans. Let’s recognize and at least acknowledge this in the current election campaign and ask ourselves how much of a burden we should be placing on those who aren’t privy to decisions made today.
Back to the basic question: Are we investing in Albertans Future or Financing Albertans Future? Albertans will decide in the coming weeks ahead.