When it comes to Alberta’s financial situation, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The bad news is that Alberta is on the path to a fiscal crisis. The facts are undeniable.
Borrowing, once reserved for emergency situations, is now used to fund day-to-day operations. According to the Notley Administration’s most recent financial plans, Alberta’s budget will not be balanced until 2023, at which time the debt will reach a staggering $90 Billion. That’s when the bill really comes due and Albertans will be forced to shell out $3.8 billion annually just to cover the interest.
It is difficult to imagine what this will mean for our province, particularly the next generation. Researchers at the University of Calgary have done just that. In order to cover the interest on Alberta’s debt, a typical senior will be forced to pay an additional $20,605 over the remainder of his or her life. Meanwhile, a typical 16-year-old in 2023 will be on the hook for an additional $42,252.
That is the bad news, especially for today’s youth, who were given no democratic voice in the government’s spending decisions.
The good news is, unlike the NDP, we recognize the problem. Better yet, we know how to fix it: Control spending and grow the economy.
Since taking office, Premier Notley has increased spending by 16 per cent. The government uses the recession as justification for this spending. The government also tells us that the recession is over. If true, why does the NDP plan to increase spending 35 per cent by 2023?
Uncontrolled spending increases must stop, and they must stop now. In addition, there are many ways to improve services by reallocating spending. The NDP would understand this better if they spent more time talking to front line workers, and less time talking to union brass.
In the long term, we all agree that that the prosperity of our province depends on economic growth. Today, the biggest obstacle to growth is government. Let’s start by reducing regulatory red tape, tearing down trade barriers, and bringing international investment back to Alberta.
In this global economy, we have two choices: Be Competitive or Be Broke. Under the NDP, we’ve tried being broke. It didn’t work out so well. Now it’s time to try the other thing.
Since the Second World War, the western world has embraced the ethos of permanent progress. The idea that each generation should be better off than its parents can be found at the very core of our economic and political systems. We value progress because we want to leave more freedom and more opportunity for today’s youth, but in recent years we’ve failed to live up to our ideals.
It’s time to get back to basics, eliminate unnecessary deficit financing, and do what we do best: Permanent progress.