Connect with us

Alberta

Alberta and B.C. budgets represent two different approaches to government finances

Published

4 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

By Grady Munro and Tegan Hill

” for every $1 of additional revenue enjoyed by both provinces, the Eby government increased spending by more than $6 compared to 79 cents for the Smith government. “

In its recent budget, the Alberta government promised a new approach to provincial finances, with spending restraint and limited debt accumulation. While there’s still work to do, this is a far better approach than the reckless spending and massive debt accumulation of the British Columbia government.

The Smith government projects a $367 million surplus in 2024/25, followed by two more surpluses of $1.4 billion in 2025/26 and $2.6 billion in 2026/27. The government plans to use these surpluses largely to pay down debt, so although provincial net debt (financial assets minus liabilities) is expected to rise slightly in 2024/25 due to increased long-term capital spending (e.g. schools and highways), the debt is projected to decrease 4.1 per cent ($1.7 billion) from 2023/24 to 2026/27.

Alberta’s strong fiscal outlook is largely driven by historically high resource revenues. But while the government plans to increase program spending (total spending minus debt interest costs) nominally over the next three years, spending will grow at a slower rate than population growth and inflation—meaning spending will decline on an inflation-adjusted per-person basis.

The Smith government still must better align spending with stable revenues, but this is an important step in the right direction.

By contrast, B.C.’s 2024 budget projects a $7.9 billion deficit in 2024/25 followed by deficits of $7.8 billion in 2025/26 and $6.3 billion in 2026/27. These deficits, combined with borrowing for capital projects, will drive a projected $55.1 billion (74.7 per cent) increase in provincial net debt from 2023/24 to 2026/27. As a result, the level of net debt projected in 2026/27 ($128.8 billion) is nearly triple the level recorded in 2019/20 ($46.9 billion).

These deficits are due to a substantial increase in provincial spending by the Eby government. Indeed, similar to Alberta, B.C. has recently enjoyed an unexpected surge in revenues, but unlike the Smith government, the Eby government has shown no spending restraint.

From 2023/24 to 2025/26, revenues in B.C. will be a projected $2.0 billion higher than the government projected in last year’s budget, yet the plan for spending over that same period increased by $13.2 billion. For comparison, the Smith government also increased spending in these years relative to its 2023 budget, but did so by $2.1 billion less than the  increase in revenues.

In other words, for every $1 of additional revenue enjoyed by both provinces, the Eby government increased spending by more than $6 compared to 79 cents for the Smith government.

The consequences of B.C.’s approach are clear. By spending far outside its means, the Eby government will saddle future generations of British Columbians with tens of billions more in debt that must be financed through taxes. For perspective, debt interest payments will nearly cost a projected $1,000 per British Columbian by 2026/27—that’s taxpayer money no longer available for programs or services. Moreover, continued deficits weaken the government’s ability to deal with future challenges (such as an economic downturn) without taking on more debt and driving up interest costs.

The Alberta and B.C. budgets provide examples of two different approaches to government finances. While there’s more to be done, Alberta is moving in the right direction to help prevent debt accumulation. On the other hand, B.C. is massively increasing spending and debt, to the detriment of British Columbians now and in the future.

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Alberta

Danielle Smith warns arsonists who start wildfires in Alberta that they will be held accountable

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The Alberta government has created an ad campaign highlighting the fact that most fires are caused by humans and not ‘climate change,’ as many left-leaning politicians claim.

In preparation for the so-called wildfire “season,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith sternly warned anyone caught starting blazes in her province, including arsonists, that they will face charges and be held fully “liable” for all costs associated with the fires.

“As we approach the wildfire season, it is important to understand that 67% of wildfires in Alberta are started by people,” Smith posted Monday on X.

“If you start a wildfire, you can be charged, fined, and held liable for all costs associated with fighting the wildfire.”

Smith made the comments after last year revealing that most of the wildfires in her province (500 of the 650) were caused by humans and not “climate change,” as has been pushed by the legacy media and opposition politicians.

“All I know is in my province we have 650 fires and 500 of them were human caused,” she said, “so we have to make sure that when people know that when it’s dry out there and we get into forest fire season that they’re being a lot more careful because anytime you end up with an ignition that happens it can have devastating consequences.”

To go along with Smith’s Monday message, the Alberta government has also created an ad campaign highlighting the fact that most fires are caused by humans and not “climate change,” as many left-leaning politicians claim.

As reported by LifeSiteNews last year, Smith ordered arson investigators to look into why some of the wildfires that raged across the vast expanse of the province had “no known cause” shortly after they spread.

During the campaign of Alberta’s 2023 election, Smith, whose United Conservative Party won a majority government, had to pause to deal with many wildfires that suddenly, out of nowhere, ravaged the province. The fires came on suddenly and uncharacteristically considering the heavy snowfall in the province in early March and rain in April.

LifeSiteNews reported that despite the arrest of multiple arsonists, Canada’s mainstream media and the federal government have been pushing a narrative attributing the recent wildfires to “climate change.”

However, statistics from Canada’s National Fire Database show that wildfires have gone down in recent years and peaked in 1989.

As for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he has repeatedly used “climate change” and forest fires as a catalyst for propping up his government’s much-maligned carbon tax, which Smith opposes. He has blamed the fires on “climate change.”

A June 2017 peer-reviewed study by two scientists and a veteran statistician confirmed that most of the recent global warming data have been “fabricated by climate scientists to make it look more frightening.”

Trudeau has been calling for increased bans on Canada’s natural resources, of which Alberta has in abundance.

Smith has vowed to fight Trudeau on his attacks against Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

The reduction and eventual elimination of so-called “fossil fuels” and a transition to unreliable “green” energy has also been pushed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the globalist group behind the socialist “Great Reset” agenda in which Trudeau and some of his cabinet are involved.

Continue Reading

Alberta

Coutts Three verdict: A warning to protestors who act as liaison with police

Published on

From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Ray McGinnis

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

Twelve jurors have found the Coutts Three guilty of mischief over $5,000 at a courthouse in Lethbridge, Alberta. Marco Van Huigenbois, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen will appear again in court on July 22 for sentencing.

Van Huigenbois, Van Herk and Janzen were each protesting at the Coutts Blockade in 2022. A blockade of Alberta Highway 4 began on January 29, 2022, blocking traffic, on and off, on Alberta Highway 4 near the Coutts-Sweetgrass Canada-USA border crossing. The protests were in support of the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa.

Protests began due to the vaccine mandates for truckers entering Canada, and lockdowns that bankrupted 120,000 small businesses. Government edicts were purportedly for “public health” to stop the spread of the C-19 virus. Yet the CDC’s Dr. Rachel Wallensky admitted on CNN in August 2021 the vaccine did not prevent infection or stop transmission.

By February 2022, a US court forced Pfizer to release its “Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports” revealing the company knew by the end of February, 2021, that 1,223 people  had a “case outcome” of “fatal” as a result of taking the companies’ vaccine.

On the day of February 14, 2022, the three men spoke to Coutts protesters after a cache of weapons had been displayed by the RCMP. These were in connection with the arrest of the Coutts Four. Van Huigenbos and others persuaded the protesters to leave Coutts, which they did by February 15, 2022.

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

RCMP officer Greg Tulloch testified that there were a number of “factions” within the larger protest group. These factions had strong disagreements about how to proceed with the protest. The Crown contended the Coutts Three were the leaders of the protest.

During his testimony, Tulloch recalled how Van Huigenbos and Janzen assisted him in getting past the “vehicle blockade to enter Coutts at a time during the protest when access to Coutts from the north via the AB-4 highway was blocked.” Tulloch also testified that Janzen and Van Huigenbos helped with handling RCMP negotiations with the protesters. Tulloch gave credit to these two “being able to help move vehicles at times to open lanes on the AB-4 highway to facilitate the flow of traffic in both directions.”

During cross examination by George Janzen’s lawyer, Alan Honner, Tulloch stated that he noticed two of the defendants assisting RCMP with reopening the highway in both directions. Honner said in summary, “[Marco Van Huigenbos and George Janzen] didn’t close the road, they opened it.”

Mark Wielgosz, an RCMP officer for over twenty years, worked as a liaison between law enforcement and protesters at the Coutts blockade. Taking the stand, he concurred that there was sharp disagreement among the Coutts protesters and the path forward with their demonstration. Rebel News video clips “submitted by both the Crown and defence teams captured these disagreements as demonstrators congregated in the Smuggler’s Saloon, a location where many of the protesters met to discuss and debate their demonstration.” Wielgosz made several attempts to name the leaders of the protest in his role as a RCMP liaison with the protesters, but was unsuccessful.”

However, the Crown maintained that the protest unlawfully obstructed people’s access to property on Highway 4.

Canada’s Criminal Code defines mischief as follows in Section 430:

Every one commits mischief who willfully

(a)  destroys or damages property;

(b)  renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

(c)   obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

(d)  obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Robert Kraychik reported that “RCMP Superintendent Gordon Corbett…cried (no comment on the sincerity of this emoting) while testifying about a female RCMP officer that was startled by the movement of a tractor with a large blade during the Coutts blockade/protest.” This was the climax of the trial. A tractor moving some distance away from an officer in rural Alberta, with blades. The shock of it all.

No evidence was presented in the trial that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen destroyed or damaged property. Officers testified they couldn’t identify who the protest leaders were. They testified the defendants assisted with opening traffic lanes, and winding down the protest.

By volunteering to liaise with the RCMP, the Crown depicted the Coutts Three as the protest leaders. Who will choose to volunteer at any future peaceful, non-violent, protest to act as a liaison with the policing authorities? Knowing of the verdict handed down on April 16, 2024, in Lethbridge?

Ray McGinnis is a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. His forthcoming book is Unjustified: The Emergencies Act and the Inquiry that Got It Wrong.

Continue Reading

Trending

X