Albertans furious about deficit budget

The Alberta government set about selling a budget with a multibillion-dollar deficit Wednesday to a crotchety constituency that has grown used to massive oil-fuelled surpluses.

CALGARY — The Alberta government set about selling a budget with a multibillion-dollar deficit Wednesday to a crotchety constituency that has grown used to massive oil-fuelled surpluses.

Finance Minister Iris Evans took her message to the airwaves on the Rutherford talk show on radio station CHQR in Calgary.

Callers gave her a rough ride over the $4.7-billion shortfall and the government’s plan to still spend $23 billion over three years catching up on building projects.

“You guys are losing interest of the public in Alberta here. You better smarten up,” said a caller identified as Greg.

A woman named Sandy criticized the Tories for being forced to play catch-up after falling behind on building schools and hospitals while people flocked to the province during boom times under former premier Ralph Klein.

“We had Ralph Klein who did nothing capital-wise. We now have schools falling apart, hospitals were being shut down,” she said.

“Now you’ve got these guys that look like the barracudas going out there and blowing all our money.”

A subsequent caller identified as Roy compared Stelmach to the socialist president of Venezuela and the province to disgraced American energy company Enron.

“The accounting practices of this Hugo Chavez government or Ed Chavez government is much like Enron,” said the caller.

“I believe you’re spending our money foolishly. You haven’t saved, you haven’t prepared us for the future and you guys should be gone.”

Evans said that spending $7.2 billion this year on building projects will help protect 80,000 Alberta jobs.

“People won’t all be satisfied with this budget, but it is a budget that’s keeping Albertans working,” she said.

“It is jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Premier Ed Stelmach told the legislature Tuesday that his government chose to run a deficit rather than cut thousands of jobs.

“We either dip into our emergency savings or . . . lay off thousands of public service (workers), whether it be nurses, teachers, doctors,” said the premier.

“We’re not going to do that.”

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month