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Red Deer Chamber Wants More Aggressive Action On Province’s Deficit


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By Sheldon Spackman

Officials with the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce would like to see a little more aggressive action taken on reducing Alberta’s Deficit and Debt. That, according to Policy and Advocacy Manager Reg Warkentin, reacting to the third quarter fiscal update announced by the province’s Finance Minister Joe Ceci on Thursday.

Ceci’s update indicates the 2016-17 deficit is forecast to be $10.8 billion, consistent with the forecasts provided in the first and second quarter updates. Total revenue is now forecast at $42.9 billion, $1.5 billion higher than at budget, mainly due to improving resource revenue, federal transfers and investment income. Total expense is forecast at $53.7 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion from budget. Warkentin says the government appears to be relying too much on resource royalties to balance the budget and would like to see them be more proactive in getting deficit spending under control.

Warkentin says Alberta was spending $40 billion a year five years ago and now spend $53.7 billion. He says that’s a 30 percent increase and cause for concern. Warkentin adds it’s interesting to note that Alberta’s per-capita spending is over $2,700 more per person than B.C.’s for example.

Alberta’s main operating expense increases include:

  • $284 million for health system pressures and drug costs
  • $179 million mainly to support higher caseloads for social services related to the downturn, such as Income Support and AISH; and child intervention
  • $104 million primarily for school enrolment growth to ensure there are teachers in every classroom
  • $72 million increase for agriculture-related spending such as income support to producers affected by low cattle prices

However, Warkentin says it’s good to see the economy appears to be on the right track with positive economic indicators such as higher employment numbers and increased drilling activity. According to the province, there were 199 rigs drilling in January of this year, the highest level since early 2015. Alberta exports reached $8 billion in December 2016, 47 per cent above the low point in April 2016. Employment has also grown by 18,000 since bottoming out in July of 2016. Warkentin says what he sees on a provincial scale, seems to be in step with what’s happening locally in the Red Deer region as well.

Alberta’s economy is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent in 2017, spurred by higher oil and manufacturing exports, a modest improvement in oil prices, continued public-sector infrastructure investment and continued reconstruction after the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Warkentin acknowledges there have been some significant impacts on the province’s finances over the past year, with those impacts expected to continue for a while longer. Those being the cost of reconstruction from the Fort McMurray Wildfire for example and a one-time $1.1 billion expense for agreements to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. Actual payments of this amount will be made over the next 14 years and is simply being reported in the 2016-17 fiscal year. This amount will be funded through the price on carbon.

Overall, Warkentin would like to see the government “focus more on finding efficiencies and policies that foster economic growth” going forward.

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Celebrate National Small Business Week October 16-20, 2023!

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From Community Futures Central Alberta

National Small Business Week is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that has been celebrated for over 40 years.

Did you know:

  • Canada has over 1 million small businesses currently in operation!
  • For statistical purposes, a small business has between 1-99 employees, but most have less than 10.
  • These small businesses employ over 8 million Canadians.
  • By comparison, only 2.5 million Canadians are employed in medium sized businesses (100-500 employees).
  • In 2019, Canadian small businesses contributed 36.7% of our gross domestic product (GDP).

*Statistics taken from Statistics Canada – Innovation, Science and Economic Development website.

Time is running out to apply for the
Catalyst Incubator!

Calling local entrepreneurs! The Catalyst Incubator, funded through the Central Alberta Innovation Network (CARIN) and provided by Community Futures Central Alberta, is nearing its registration deadline.

Both Fall and Winter registration dates for this unique, cohort-based program helping to foster new ideas, make critical connections, and help start-up businesses are now open. The Catalyst Incubator is 100% FREE and focuses on supporting start-ups in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, energy innovation, and more.

Learn more about how to register

Increase your business’ online presence with free help from the Digital Service Squad

The Digital Service Squad (DSS) is designed to help small businesses take their businesses online. This program, a partnership between Business Link, Community Futures and Digital Main Street, will help small businesses in Alberta undergo digital transformations and adopt eCommerce practices. DSS is open to home-based or commercial small businesses registered in Alberta with less than 50 employees.

Digital Service Squads guides businesses through digital transformation. Small businesses can apply to participate in the program, free of charge.

Book your free consultation today

Lending Spotlight: Flex Loans

In this edition of our Quarterly Update, we shine a spotlight on the Community Futures Central Alberta Flex Loan. Flex Loans are available to clients in all industries, including home-based and storefront. The loans can be used for equipment, inventory, renovations, marketing, working capital, etc.

According to CFCA Business Analyst Kelsey Krieger, “Flex loans offer our clients a lower interest rate and a lower barrier to entry to qualify for financial support for their small business or startup. This product allows clients to make near-term plans for purchasing needed equipment or doing important upgrades to their business.”

•    Qualification for unsecured (will still take GSA and personal guarantee) will be based on credit history and net worth.

Learn more about Flex Loans today – call us at 403.342.2055 and make an appointment!

CFCA introduces Tyler Harke as its new Community Economic Development Coordinator

Community Futures Central Alberta is pleased to welcome Tyler Harke as its newest staff member.

Tyler is a life-long Albertan who comes from a family of entrepreneurs. He is excited to serve in both the Community Economic Development role as well as part of the Digital Services Squad.

Tyler brings over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications roles and looks forward to playing a key role in helping small business thrive in this great region!

Contact Tyler and discuss your community’s involvement with CFCA

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CFR Rodeo, live music, street dancing, art, theatre and more downtown celebrations..

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Live Music at The Velvet Olive

Mike Szabo at The Velvet Olive

October 26th @7:30

Join Mike Szabo on a journey of stories and songs he wrote and the covers that inspired him. Mike is promoting the release of his debut vinyl LP, Take My Heart 2020. Cover for the show is by donation and guests will be seated first come, first served.

Fish in a Birdcage at The Velvet Olive

October 28th @8:30

Dustan Townsend AKA “Fish in a Birdcage” is a young and passionate musical virtuoso. Townsend is originally from Red Deer, Alberta and is now on a two year long busking/street performing adventure around Europe with Spain being his next destination.

(2) The Velvet Olive Lounge | Facebook

Family Street Dance October 29th

(2) CFR Family Street Dance | Facebook

Grand Opening Celebration

October 29th

Yep, you heard that right! We’re hosting a Grand Opening celebration for Red Deer’s largest music store! When Long and McQuade bought the business in February of 2020, plans to renovate the store were made but had to be postponed. Fast forward to 2022, renovations are now finished and we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the occasion with YOU, our amazing customers!

Come to the store on Oct. 29 for some awesome giveaway prizes, live music, and free food. Our BBQ will be fired up from 12 to 2 and we have live music scheduled from some excellent local musicians!

(2) Long & McQuade (Red Deer) | Facebook

Trick or Treat Downtown Red Deer

October 31st

Trick or Treat October 31st-

12-4 pm

Trick or Treat with your little one at your favorite businesses and stop by the Ross Street Pation for a photobooth!

Contact Carbon + Oak for location information.

Carbon + Oak | Facebook

Rodeo on Ross

November 2nd, 3rd ,4th

(2) CFR live Screening | Facebook

Celebration 6 Years Arts & Culture

November 4th

A + Art Gallery & unique collections

Celebration 6 Years Exhibition


Opening Reception

Date: Friday, November 4th

Time: Noon to 4 pm

FREE Event

(1) Celebration 6 Years Arts & Culture | Facebook

The Games of Love and Chance

November 10th to 27th

Prime stock Theater

@ Scott block theatre

November 10th to 27th.

Thursdays – Sundays 7 pm

PLUS 2 pm Matinees on Saturdays

Love must conquer clever disguises in this delightful comic masterpiece.

The Games of Love and Chance was originally written by Pierre de Marivaux at the height of opulence and extravagance during the reign of Louis XV in France. This playful and witty comedy has been newly translated and adapted by Artistic Director, Richard Beaune and this is it’s world premiere! Indulge in an evening (or afternoon) of love, laughter and decadent silliness as Red Deer’s only professional theatre company brings this sumptuous story of love and deception to life on stage.

(2) The Games of Love and Chance | Facebook

Starpainter w/ Curtis Phagoo at The Velvet Olive

The Velvet olive

Starpainter is a folk rock band from Lethbridge, Alberta. They wear their influences on their sleeves, showcasing strong songwriting and an affinity for gently psychedelic alt-country tones. The band has been growing a following on the strength of their debut full-length titled Bury Me By My Family (2020). Their imaginative, guitar-heavy live show is built on a foundation of prairie-born craftsmanship with a pop sensibility that defies their youth.

(2) The Velvet Olive Lounge | Facebook

Follow along with our NEW mural map, to enjoy the amazing murals that Downtown Red Deer has to offer!

Looking for a paper copy? Head to the Downtown Business Association office.

120, 5009 50 Ave.


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