Connect with us
[the_ad id="89560"]

Alberta

Back in black: Alberta ends latest fiscal year with $3.9B surplus as oil, gas surge

Published

5 minute read

By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

Alberta is back in the black in a big way — turbocharged by high-flying oil prices.

The final number on the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, is a $3.9-billion surplus, Finance Minister Jason Nixon said Tuesday.

It’s the first time in seven years the provincial budget sports no red ink on the bottom line and it represents a head-spinning turnaround from the $18.2-billion deficit predicted when the budget was introduced during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2021.

Nixon said the goal is to use the windfall to build up the province’s $18.7 billion savings nest egg — the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund — while examining further ways to help Albertans get through the current stretch of high inflation.

“Most Albertans have witnessed volatile resource revenues before and dealt with the fallout when governments went right out and spent excessive revenues as soon as they had it,” said Nixon.

“The fact is what goes up will come down.

“That’s why we have focused on savings for the future to reduce the burden of debt to make life more affordable for Albertans.”

Alberta’s bread-and-butter oil and natural gas industries have soared in recent months as global economies ramped up while pandemic measures receded and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted worldwide energy supply.

In fact, the money has gushed in so copiously that Alberta managed to save more even as it spent more.

The province spent more than $64 billion in 2021-22 — about $2.5 billion more than originally budgeted due mainly to disaster assistance for drought-ravaged farmers.

Alberta is now almost a quarter of the way into the current 2022-23 budget year, which so far predicts a modest $511-million surplus.

Asked if he thinks the current year’s surplus could also end up being much larger, Nixon said he’ll have more information on that at the next update in August.

“My officials and my experts are still saying we need a little bit more time before we give that a proper answer,” he said.

Shannon Phillips, finance critic for the Opposition NDP, said Nixon and the United Conservative Party government, even with the windfall, are failing to deliver on promised funding for a range of public services, from education to ambulance response.

“Hundreds of thousands of Albertans can’t find a family doctor. Dozens of rural hospitals are partially closed. Urban emergency rooms are overwhelmed and ambulance wait times are longer than they have ever been,” said Phillips in a statement.

“Albertans can’t trust the UCP when they are worse off in every way despite $100 oil.”

Nixon said the government has launched initiatives to relieve inflationary pressures where possible. The province cut its share of the gasoline tax earlier this spring and $150 in electricity rebates will soon flow to cushion the impact of high prices.

The turnaround in the budget was propelled by $16.2 billion in non-renewable resource revenue — $13.3 billion more than expected at budget.

The budget predicted West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark price for North American oil, to average about US$46 a barrel. Instead, it averaged US$77 and currently hovers around US$110.

That money boosted all the other major line items.

Total revenue was $68 billion, about a third more than budgeted.

Corporate income tax came in at $4.7 billion, more than double what was expected.

Taxpayer-supported debt was expected to be $115 billion but came in at $93 billion. The cost of servicing the debt was $2.3 billion.

Nixon said half the surplus — about $2 billion — came from the government reversing onerous provisions in the contract for the Sturgeon Refinery.

There was $6.6 billion for capital projects: roads, hospitals, bridges, schools, and housing units.

The update comes at a time of flux for the UCP as it prepares for a new leader. Premier Jason Kenney announced last month he was stepping down from the top job after receiving 51 per cent support in a party leadership review.

He is set to leave when a new leader is chosen Oct. 6.

The next budget is slated for the spring, followed closely by a scheduled provincial election on May 29.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.

 

Storytelling is in our DNA. We provide credible, compelling multimedia storytelling and services in English and French to help captivate your digital, broadcast and print audiences. As Canada’s national news agency for 100 years, we give Canadians an unbiased news source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness.

Follow Author

Alberta

From Cafe Owner to Political Activist at the heart of the Alberta Prosperity Project

Published on

The COVID pandemic has turned Central Alberta Cafe Owner Chris Scott into nothing short of a lightning rod.

Many business owners grumbled and suffered through a couple years of mayhem due to wave after wave of COVID and the various restrictions affecting day to day operations.  Where most business owners zigged, Scott, as they say… zagged.

Chances are you know something about his story as he’s been in the news and seemingly on a never ending speaking tour ever since this all started.

You likely won’t be surprised to know Chis Scott is still operating his cafe, still facing court charges, and heavily involved in trying to influence Alberta politicians.

No matter what side of this discussion you fall on, no matter what you think of the business owners, doctors, and religious leaders who stood in defiance of covid restrictions, this conversation will help you understand where those who have emerged as leaders of those who stood up to the health restrictions are putting their attention in the summer of 2022.

If you’re interesting in learning more about the Alberta Prosperity Project.

If you’re interested in WS Full Steam Ahead

 

Continue Reading

Alberta

Voting deadline looms in race to replace Jason Kenney as Alberta UCP leader, premier

Published on

EDMONTON – It’s deadline day to buy $10 Alberta United Conservative Party memberships to vote for the next leader and premier.

The party is accepting drop offs by 5 p.m. and online memberships until midnight.

The party will then go through the memberships and confirm information and expects to have the final tally ready in two weeks or so.

Seven candidates are on the ballot seeking to replace Premier Jason Kenney in the party’s top job.

Kenney announced in May he was quitting after receiving a lukewarm 51 per cent support in a party leadership review.

The next key date in the race is the second debate, slated for Aug. 30 in Edmonton.

The candidates have been proposing a range of policy ideas from health care to education reform, but the focus of debate has been on how to leverage Alberta’s relationship with the federal government to get a better deal in areas such as equalization.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.

Continue Reading

Trending

X