Alberta finance minister says taking over his portfolio has been nerve-racking

Alberta’s new finance minister admits he’s got a case of the nerves as he takes over a challenging portfolio during an economic downturn in the oilpatch.

CALGARY — Alberta’s new finance minister admits he’s got a case of the nerves as he takes over a challenging portfolio during an economic downturn in the oilpatch.

“I kind of feel a little bit of the weight of the work and the promises we made, the economic situation and all of that is nerve-racking, but I’ve been to this rodeo a few times,” Joe Ceci said, Wednesday as he attended the first cabinet meeting of Rachel Notley’s NDP government.

“The briefings are revealing and eye-opening and they make you want to get down to work right away.”

The budget brought down by the former Progressive Conservative government before the May 5 election showed Alberta facing a $7- billion shortfall in revenues this year as a result of low oil prices.

Notley and her 11 colleagues were sworn in at the Alberta legislature on Sunday. The premier has said there will be an interim budget in the coming weeks to keep the province functioning while the government works to have a full budget ready by the fall.

The NDP toppled almost 44 years of successive Tory governments with a campaign that promised more taxes on the wealthy and corporations. The party also plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 and review the royalties oil and gas companies are charged.

Ceci, a former Calgary city councillor, said work on the budget will begin next week. In the meantime, he’s watching oil prices closely.

“All the time. All the time. What’s it at now? $60?”

The price per barrel was just under US$58 at mid-day Wednesday.

Notley was all smiles as she arrived at the premier’s southern Alberta office for Wednesday’s meeting.

“I’m hoping to find the office and get some good work done,” she said, noting she would have more to say at an afternoon news conference.

New Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd told reporters it was her first visit to the Calgary office.

“I’m really excited. I got a chance the last two days to meet all the folks in my ministry,” she said. “I’m learning and I’m in the listening and learning mode right now.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thunberg brushes off mockery from US finance chief

DAVOS, Switzerland — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has brushed off criticism… Continue reading

Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.9 per cent in November

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales climbed 0.9 per cent in… Continue reading

Alberta landowners urge farmers to cut power to wells with unpaid debts

A group of Alberta landowners is asking farmers and ranchers to fight… Continue reading

Saskatchewan lab joins global effort to develop coronavirus vaccine

SASKATOON — As Canadian public health agencies prepare to deal with a… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

David Marsden: Drug addicts deserve our care

The provincial government, rather than seizing an opportunity, is flirting with putting… Continue reading

Wheels in Motion: Canada’s Mitchell a quick study in track cycling

MILTON, Ont. — Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell returns this weekend to where it… Continue reading

Women’s players hope NHL All-Star Weekend helps their cause

ST. LOUIS — Annie Pankowski got an email from the NHL asking… Continue reading

Juno-nominated folk band the Jerry Cans to set out on nine-city Canadian tour

TORONTO — Iqaluit folk-rock ensemble the Jerry Cans are plotting a Canadian… Continue reading

Taylor Swift shakes Sundance with revealing documentary

PARK CITY, Utah — The normally private Taylor Swift premiered an intimate… Continue reading

Second day of search yields no sign of French snowmobilers missing in Quebec

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — It was an exuberant group of French travellers who… Continue reading

Local Sports: Tyler Podgorenko’s presence with the Kings being felt

The biggest question surrounding the RDC Kings hockey team going into the… Continue reading

Most Read