Alberta finance minister looking to boost budget with investors

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci is taking the province's latest budget on a get-to-know you visit with investors and credit-rating agencies.

EDMONTON — Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci is taking the province’s latest budget on a get-to-know you visit with investors and credit-rating agencies.

Ceci was to fly to Toronto on Monday and also has meetings planned in New York later this week.

Ceci said in a release that meeting face-to-face with business leaders helps raise Alberta’s profile as a stable and progressive energy producer.

He said it’s important that the financial community knows that Alberta remains what he calls a great place to do business, despite a “global price shock” brought on by low oil prices.

A day after the April 14 budget, credit-rating agency DBRS downgraded the province’s rating a notch to double-A from triple-A over the NDP government’s debt levels.

The budget includes a $10.4-billion deficit this year and forecasts the province will face a $58-billion overall debt within three years.

Derek Fildebrandt, finance critic for the Opposition Wildrose, says Ceci’s travels will do nothing to restore Alberta’s credit rating. He says that will only come once the government has a clear plan to control spending and balance the budget.

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