Given no background or context, it would be hard to believe that the 2011 provincial budget dramatically changed Alberta’s political landscape by driving a wedge in the Progressive Conservative caucus which led to the resignation of Premier Ed Stelmach and former Finance Minister Ted Morton.
The budget tabled yesterday is not perfect, bold, or visionary, but it is alright as far as PC budgets go.
Shrugging aside years of anti-deficit rhetoric and short-sighted cuts, this PC budget presents investments in some much needed public infrastructure construction and maintenance, and minor funding increases in most Departments.
The continuation of stable funding increases for health care will also provide that system an opportunity to stabilize after years of political interference, restructuring, and unstable funding.
One of the big debates looming on the horizon is whether the Alberta Government has a spending problem or a revenue problem. It is not as simple as one or the other, but it goes to show that our immense natural resources continue to afford us these kind of privileged debates that people in other jurisdictions could only dream of.
We have an opportunity to be smart about the finances our resources afford us. If we plan diligently, become more forward looking, and assert our fair share of revenues from our resources, I believe that the opportunities could be endless for our province.