Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci recently commented on the upcoming budget, which will be tabled on Oct. 27. According to Ceci the budget will outline a plan for jobs and economic growth while stabilizing public services and presenting a path to balance.
“We are looking to achieve three things,” said Ceci at a media conference on Oct. 5. “First, we are going to stabilize public services and we are going to correct some mistakes that, in our view, the previous government made in managing public finances. Second, we will present a plan to return to fiscal balance. We’ll be making some final decisions on the timing of this plan this week and we may have more to say about it.
“Finally, the budget will outline our government’s plan to stimulate economic growth, diversification and job creation. We’ll do this by working with growth industries, we’ll invest in our infrastructure, we’ll do this by working with job creators and supporting the commercialization of Alberta’s wide variety of innovations.”
He also says economic growth will be stimulated by supporting entrepreneurs and job start-ups in the province. When elaborating on the mistakes the NDP feels were made by the previous government, he mentioned the overreliance on royalty revenues as a major source of finance for program spending, something he says has been a challenge for him in his role when looking for other ways to fix that specific situation.
The finance minister took time in his statement to thank the thousands of Albertans that took part in the pre-budget consultations, saying that throughout the past summer he’d had the opportunity to hear about the impacts of the decline in oil prices and what the government can do to get on the path to long-term sustainable prosperity.
See “Budget,” Page 11
“I had the amazing opportunity to hear from the businesses throughout Alberta of all sizes, workers, entrepreneurs, non-profit community, leaders and the municipalities,” Ceci said.
“I was given a front-row-seat view to the many challenges facing Albertans, but also to the vast potential of our highly skilled work force, entrepreneurial spirit and open economy. I heard great ideas about how to diversify our economy so we are less prone to the commodity roller coaster and I received proposals from economic development programs to support job growth for many people.”
Speaking on what we he called the “broader fiscal challenges”, Ceci says the province has seen drops in the price of oil multiple times and will continue to see the price cycle many times in the future, though he admitted these facts don’t make it any easier to deal with the revenue shocks Alberta is presently facing.
“We’ll be setting out the details of how we intend to manage this situation in the provincial budget we present to the Alberta legislature on Oct. 27.”