The Alberta provincial debt clock is making the rounds this week, and it’s making a pit stop in the Border City.
“The debt clock is a 12-foot clock, attached onto a modified horse trailer that we are touring all over Alberta so (the CTF) can raise the alarm about the irresponsible return to debt,” said Derek Fildebrandt, the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Fildebrandt said that the tour, which began last week, marks the 10th anniversary of former premier Ralph Klein declaring Alberta debt free and holding the paid in full sign above his head.
“As of Saturday, the debt clock reached over $10 billion, and this has happened in a short period of time,” Fildebrandt said, adding that the debt will continue to grow and by 2016 that provincial debt is expected to hit over $20 billion. “That means the more debt that we take on, the more and more the provincial budget will be eaten by interest payments.”
Fildebrandt said in the interview that the CTF is raising the alarm because the more interest payments the province has to pay the less payments for education and health care there will be for future generations.
“So, we are taking the debt clock around to different communities to raise the alarm bell about the rising debt and put the heat on politicians to take a stand on the issue of the debt increases,” he said.
The debt clock will be parked outside of city hall in Lloydminster on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Fildebrandt said that residents of Alberta need to understand the grasp of what is taking place, so the CTF has carefully chosen 25 communities for the cross province tour.
“Geographical was one of the big pushes for the debt clock tour, but also the ridings that we are going into are ridings of some politicians we hope to get on board to make the debt pledge the CTF has,” he said.
He said the majority of the Wildrose caucus has made the pledge to stop putting the province further into debt. He also mentioned that some PC caucus members have made similar pledges, but not all of them have.
When the debt clock arrives in Lloydminster, Fildebrandt said that depending on how many people show up, he will give a speech.
“Where we have a number of supporters, is where I will give a speech, but it is the middle of July, so it is hard to determine how many people will come out.”
From Lloydminster, the CTF debt clock and Fildebrandt will then travel to Vermilion where he and the debt clock will be parked outside of town hall at 11:45 a.m.