Ron Orr: How far fair Alberta has fallen

Alberta’s economy is falling, as discussed in this week’s MLA column

Ron Orr                                MLA Lacombe-Ponoka

Ron Orr MLA Lacombe-Ponoka

Ron Orr

MLA Lacombe-Ponoka

If you once thought that Alberta’s economy was the flower of Canada I have very sad news for you.

Alberta’s sub-national fiscal gap is third worst in all of Confederation, second worst among provinces, at 4.6 per cent of GDP, behind the Territories and Newfoundland.

Fiscal gap is defined as net debt-to-GDP levels. When this ratio expands that creates a “fiscal gap.”

This assessment that came out on September 28th comes from the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) in Ottawa. The PBO accesses federal finances regularly. For the first time they also accessed provinces and the report is deeply disturbing for Alberta.

The PBO called Alberta’s current fiscal policy unsustainable over the long-term, confirming the negative impacts of NDP incompetence and financial mismanagement.

Only a part of this can be blamed on the price of oil. Alberta has suffered oil price declines before but has never compounded that with massive ideological mismanagement. This government’s policies have turned a correction into a catastrophe.

The PBO states that Alberta contributes more to the combined Sub-national “fiscal gap” than all the other provinces combined. Our share is 98 per cent of the combined total. Gasp.

Google PBO and read the report yourself.

Health care spending is identified as the key challenge to be addressed.

Nathan Cooper, UCP interim leader says “Yet another independent assessment of NDP fiscal policy has confirmed what United Conservative Party Caucus members have been saying for years: NDP mismanagement of Alberta’s finances has created a mess that will take generations to clean up. The NDP can start by immediately addressing health care spending levels, which are currently 20 per cent higher than in British Columbia for the same level of service.”

Is there any hope in this?


As an official opposition we are calling on the current government to drop their ideology and take immediate corrective action to contain the firestorm of spending and debt expansion.

The PBO says it will take increased taxes or spending restraint to make Alberta’s finances sustainable.

They estimate that permanent tax increases or spending reductions amounting to 4.6 per cent of provincial GDP ($14.1 billion in current dollars) would be required to achieve fiscal sustainability; either taxes go up 25 per cent, program spending goes down by 20 per cent or some combination of the two.

Alberta overspends, relative to other provinces on a per capita basis.

We must reign in overspending.

Tax revenue will not increase unless there is substantial business activity to create business and employment tax revenue. Increase economic activity; it will increase tax revenue.

This is achievable folks but it will take determination.

If we do not act responsibly it will be the younger generation who have to pay the massive debt and the interest. That is not fair. Every generation should pay their own way and not borrow against the next.

If you have any questions or concerns on this or any issue, feel free to contact me at my constituency office at 403-782-7725 or by e-mail or drop into the office 101, 4892 – 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B6.

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP Stock Image.
Ponoka RCMP execute search warrant, recover stolen property

On June 11, 2021, Ponoka RCMP received a tip on the possible… Continue reading

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21 in Canada. (Government of Canada photo)
Alberta RCMP recognizes National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021

This year, June 21 marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples… Continue reading

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read