Reckless Politics-Reckless Spending
The Alberta NDP ran in 2015 on a promise to keep deficits at a total of $10.9 billion through their four-year term.
Rachel Notley’s government ran a $10.8 billion deficit last year and is forecasted to run a $10.3 billion deficit this fiscal year.
The NDP is running up a debt that is four times the rate they promised when they hoped to win power.
It is even unlikely the NDP will hit the $10.3 billion deficit projected for 2017-18, as that projection was based on a $55-per-barrel price of oil. The price of oil has averaged approximately $48-per-barrel for the first half of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
All four of the United Conservative Party leadership candidates have promised to return fiscal security to the province. Notley has focused much of her attacks on Jason Kenney, which is likely because she rightly senses he will win the leadership of the UCP.
One of Kenney’s promises is to balance Alberta’s budget within three years of taking office. Notley, according to the Calgary Herald, characterized this promise on fiscal rectitude as heartless, reckless and mean-spirited.
Those five simple words symbolize everything that is wrong with the Notley government specifically and progressive governments in general. Notley promised a fiscally responsible government, but it is now clear that promise was made simply to secure power. The Alberta NDP has made no attempt to manage public money responsibly. When a potential opponent makes the same promise that Notley did, her response is to launch a personal attack.
The problem with Alberta’s finances isn’t revenue, as Provincial Treasurer Joe Ceci claimed in June. “The catastrophic tumble in oil prices took a deep toll on Alberta families last year and that was only compounded by the Wood Buffalo wildfire. But Albertans are resilient and compassionate. When times are tough, we help each other,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said in a release.
The problem with Alberta’s finances is spending. The same Herald story that mentioned Notley’s attack also highlights the fact that Alberta’s provincial spending is $2,500 higher per capita than in British Columbia.
Alberta has a population of a little over four million, meaning the provincial deficit would be less than a billion dollars if Notley’s government spent the same amount per capita as British Columbia and did nothing else.
Rachel Notley’s government is fundamentally dishonest in how it runs the economy. Their platform did not mention the carbon tax they implemented within months of taking office. They are on course to rack up at least four times the total debt they promised during their campaign.
The Alberta NDP is the worst embodiment of “tax and spend liberalism”. Kenney will return fiscal sanity to Alberta’s finances when he becomes premier. Notley knows Kenney will succeed where she has failed, which is why she is focusing her efforts on attacking her likely successor – it’s easier than keeping the promises she made to Albertans to run the province’s finances responsibly.