Despite bitumen bubble, Alberta is a steady star in turbulent waters, says Redford.

Premier Alison Redford

Premier Alison Redford

Short on specifics, Premier Alison Redford‘s much-hyped televised address may have ended up leaving more question unanswered.

1) Referring to a “bitumen bubble”, the Premier announced that the provincial government’s revenue shortfall is now projected to be six billion, up from the three billion budget deficit recently projected by Finance Minister Doug Horner. This is a result of lower than predicted oil prices, which historically cycle from high to low.

It is positive news that the Premier does not intend to “take an axe to government spending across the board,” but this reinforces the need for Albertans to talk about taxes.

2) During her address, the Premier praised the construction of new pipelines as a way to increase the price of Alberta’s oil, and government revenue. While this is be positive, it still does not solve the problem that our government relies heavily on an unstable stream of revenue determined by international markets. Another reason why Albertans need to talk about taxes.

3) At the conclusion of her address, the Premier announced that she will be holding an “Alberta Economic Summit.” The Premier explained that the Summit will bring together “industry experts, business and not-for-profit sector leaders and academics from our colleges and universities” to continue the “conversation” about Alberta’s finances.

Premier Redford will need to work hard to ensure that this will not be a government-sponsored public relations exercise designed to produce a pre-determined result.

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