Posted on Aug 28, 2020


EDMONTON - Jason Kenney and the UCP revealed documents Thursday that show a $12 billion deficit for 2019-2020, doubling the deficit by the previous NDP government. The fiscal update did not provide a plan for economic growth or recovery and Minister Toews was not able to explain why the deficit grew before the pandemic and the drop in the global price of oil. 

The NDP are calling on Finance Minister Travis Toews to come before the Public Accounts Committee to explain how last year’s deficit ballooned before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alberta. 

It is common practice for department officials to answer questions at Public Accounts regarding annual reports, but the NDP are saying Albertans deserve answers directly from Toews.

“The UCP are trying to use the pandemic to hide their economic failure,” said Shannon Phillips, NDP Finance Critic. “While the UCP try to lie about the state of our province’s economy before the pandemic hit, the numbers don’t.”

The UCP’s claim that their economic plan was working before the pandemic is contradicted by the budget documents shared Thursday. Despite Minister’s Toews claims, investment fell by 5% in 2019, the economy shrank by 0.6%, Alberta had lost 50,000 full-time jobs, and the flagship $4.7 billion corporate handout had failed to attract investment, or put Albertans back to work. 

“Instead of doubling down on handouts for profitable corporations and wealthy CEOs, we need a government that has a plan to have the backs of Albertans,” said Phillips. “Yesterday we got proof that this government has failed to deliver on their number one talking point: the economy.”

“Jason Kenney keeps warning of a ‘fiscal reckoning’ so we know his plan is to balance the budget on the backs of hard-working Albertans while profitable corporations take their money and run.”