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EDMONTON — Alberta will post its first deficit in 15 years at the end of March, but the global financial crisis — not government bungling — is responsible, the province's finance minister told reporters Thursday.

"The dollar losses that Albertans are experiencing today have not come because of things individual ministers have done," Iris Evans told a packed news conference at the legislature. "They have come from forces that are well beyond the control of ministers of the Crown."


Scott Hennig, the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, likened the situation to the deficit-financing of the 1980s after oil prices took a massive hit.

"This is 1986 all over again," he said. "That year, (then-premier) Don Getty decided to run a massive deficit of $5 billion, and hope that they could get through the next year until oil prices rebounded. They didn't, and they ran eight consecutive deficit budgets until we had to have a massive cut in 1992-93 when Ralph Klein came in.


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Evans is right, to a degree. No one should worry about a government deficit.

Rather, we should worry about what the government is buying. How is the government spending our money? Whether taxed or borrowed (at admittedly very low interest rates), the money is spent.

Borrowing or taxing aside, do we need the stuff/crap bureaucrats buy on our behalf? That's the key question.


Government is like a profligate wife of a rich husband: it doesn't matter whether she uses the debit card or the credit card. The husband will pay. The question is how much she buys.

Governments spend other people's money and in the case of Canada, like a rich husband, the pockets are bottomless. Deficits are meaningless.

IME, Albertans (Manning, Lougheed etc.) have difficulty understanding this idea.

Edited by August1991
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Borrowing or taxing aside, do we need the stuff/crap bureaucrats buy on our behalf? That's the key question.

In your opinion, you seem to think there is no government spending that is worth it. None. Zilch.

Deficits are meaningless.

Deficits are not meaningless. They eventually have to be paid.

IME, Albertans (Manning, Lougheed etc.) have difficulty understanding this idea.

Alberta has had difficultly thinking about what to do with the money that pours in during good times. They usually spend it as fast as they can.

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No I don't. I just bet the wish they hadn't done so. Maybe going in to deficit will give them more motivation to actually address health care and make it more efficient, which it will need to be with our aging population.

The Progressive Conservatives, lead by "Special Ed" continue to spend like drunken sailors. Billions of dollars have been removed from the planned spending of corporations in Alberta. It goes beyond the oil patch by a large margin now. Everything from real estate to retail sales have taken a nosedive here. It has impacted the citizens desire to utilize their disposable income in any manner beyond paying down debt and avoiding major purchases. Tens of thousands have lost their jobs, and there are more employment issues coming.

This was once an agrarian culture, until oil was discovered. Now we rely on the oil patch for more employment than we used to for the farms. When it, the patch, takes a hit, then a major proportion of our domestic product takes a hit. Things are getting real tough in Alberta.

While Alberta citizens find ways to spend less money, our government seeks ways to spend more. In the face of shrinking revenues, increases in expenditures are an exercise in fiscal stupidity. Yet for some unknown reason, our government fails to see the futility of throwing money around that they simply don't have. The average citizens understands the impact of economic events to a much greater degree than our elected representatives.

Even so, a vast majority of folks think that the way out of this current problem can be found with having the government give tax dollars to corporate efforts to stimulate the economy. I say that they are wrong. You cannot spend your way of of a recession with such ease.

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And someone said I was depressing.... ;)

I am sorry to hear the shit is hitting the fan in Alberta too. It was expected. You put forth a good argument.

What can I say? There have been rumours of a new political party, right of centre, yet green strangely. Something else to look at here. The left is out of focus and the PC Party is far from where they should be.

Alberta citizens don't want warm and fuzzy left of centre politics, they want less government, less taxes and fiscal responsibility. Contrary to popular belief, it was the Liberals who sought budget restraints and forced the PC's into some responsibility. Even so, that was a long time ago, and the government has changed since. No longer do the representatives elected by the people seek reasonable solutions, they have grown fat at the trough.

Alberta needs a party in power that has fiscal restraint at the core of its being. It needs to have a viable development plan that incorporates a secondary industry strategy that is designed to take advantage of our natural resource wealth without giving away the store in the process. It needs a leadership with more than balls, it needs a spine and a brain as well. Alberta needs many things, but leadership to weather the storm is the key.

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