EDMONTON – The Alberta government announced on Wednesday the province’s budget will be balanced a year later than Premier Rachel Notley promised in the spring election.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the budget won’t be balanced until the 2019-2020 fiscal year due to the long-term slump in oil prices.
“We should all be cognizant of the fact that oil closed just over $63 a barrel on election day and has been in a global slide since then,” said Ceci.
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Ceci also blamed previous governments for failing to “save, to diversify our economy, and to diversify government revenue streams.”
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Balancing the budget before 2019 would mean having to postpone the diversification of Alberta’s economy or cutting essential services, said Ceci.
The finance minister said other promises made in the campaign will be honoured, and Albertans shouldn’t expect any major surprises when the budget is released on Tuesday as the fall session of the legislature gets underway.
“Albertans can feel confident the budget I’ll introduce in a few short days will focus on them, on jobs, on growth, on providing a cushion when they need it,” said Ceci.
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The finance minister said this year’s budget deficit will be under $6.5 billion.
With files from