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

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read