Days after Premier Rachel Notley made a televised address to prime Albertans for the budget, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has made an address of his own.
Without mentioning the NDP or Notley by name, Jean criticized the provincial government’s plan to run a deficit of over $10 billion, saying that within five years Alberta could be saddled with $50 billion in debt.
“We cannot spend our way out of a deficit, we cannot borrow our way out of debt,” the Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA said, repeating his words from Thursday. “And we all know that simply spending more money doesn’t make the system better.”
Jean pointed to British Columbia, where the government spends 20% less (per person), saying to consider it when thinking of the effect of small decreases in government expenditure.
“We need to actually hold a line on spending,” Jean said. “And look for ways to find just a few pennies of savings for every dollar spent.”
The Official Opposition leader also said that tax increases and added regulation is hurting Alberta business, stating that the province’s competitive edge is “slipping.”
“For the first time in recent memory more people are leaving the province than moving in,” Jean said. “Albertans tell me they are worried our province is no longer a place that inspires our neighbours.”
He also took aim at the federal government, saying their actions relating to the energy industry show the Trudeau government “does not care about Alberta’s interests.”
Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman responded to Jean’s address, saying it sounded of the same ideas that Albertans voted against last spring.
“The deep cuts that were being proposed… were certainly not supported,” she said. “We have a different vision for Alberta, one that’s forward-thinking.”
The budget is set to be presented in the Legislature on Thursday.