EDMONTON — Premier Rachel Notley began selling the Alberta budget Friday. She will give a state-of-the-province address in Edmonton at 12:30 p.m.
Notley is being skewered by opposition critics for a budget that includes a $10-billion deficit, $58 billion in debt within three years and no plan to balance the books before 2024.
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“In terms of the actual amount, it’s the largest deficit Alberta’s ever had, but as a percentage of our revenue it’s not actually the largest,” Notley said Friday in an interview with The West Block with Tom Clark. “We did have larger deficits in the 80s.
“Our government has made a very determined decision that what we’re going to do during what is an unprecedented price shock and economic shock…the worst thing we’ve seen in two or three generations – that we’re going to invest in Albertans. We’re not going to pile on to the job losses and to the restraint and the cuts that we’re seeing in the private sector,” the premier explained.
“What our plan is to invest in Albertans, invest in the Alberta economy to work towards repositioning our economy and to grow it. And, as that happens, we’ll be able to deal with the fiscal difficulties.”
Her government says it’s the right thing to do given the devastation to the economy due to the prolonged slump in oil prices. Finance Minister Joe Ceci said to begin gutting programs and slashing public sector jobs would only make a bad situation worse.
Watch below: Notley begins selling the NDP’s budget to Albertans
The budget introduces a new tax incentive plan to grow businesses and the expectation is that all the combined government initiatives – along with a continued investment in infrastructure – will “create an environment” to create 100,000 jobs over the next three years.
On Friday morning, Notley was also asked about the motivation behind introducing a carbon tax.
“The money that comes out of Albertans’ pockets, as you put it – with respect to the carbon levy – every cent will be reinvested back into the economy,” Notley said. “It’s being reinvested into a number of new programs that will support Albertans through these difficult times, support them as they make the transition to a lower-emission economy and lifestyle and support our industry as we make that transition to a lower-emission economy.”
The full interview with Notley will air on The West Block with Tom Clark Sunday morning on Global TV at 11 a.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT.
WATCH: Politicians and analysts share their thoughts on the Alberta budget. Watch their interviews below.
Alberta Finance Minster Joe Ceci joined Global News Morning to go over the highlights of the provincial budget he tabled on Thursday, including the massive deficit and big spending plans.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean joined Global News Morning, where he said the amount of debt in the budget will downgrade our province’s credit rating and spending in critical areas will have to be diverted to repayment.
READ MORE: Alberta budget 2016: Winners and losers
Alberta PC leader Ric McIver joined Global News Morning to share the former governing party’s concerns over how much debt the province is taking on.
Jennifer Crosby caught up with Mayor Don Iveson at City Hall where he talked about what parts of the provincial budget will benefit the Edmonton region and what parts are less helpful.
READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2016: What’s in it for Edmonton?
Political analyst Robert Murray from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy joined Global News Morning to share his take on Alberta Budget 2016, including the big deficit and how this budget differs from what Albertans are used to.
READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2016: government opts to spend big to keep economy from worsening
Family Matters reporter Laurel Gregory on what budget 2016 means for Alberta families
Political analyst David Taras joins Global Calgary with reaction to the NDP’s new provincial budget.
Click here to see all our Alberta Budget 2016 coverage.
With files from