Deficits needed to solve Alberta’s oil crisis: Prentice

EDMONTON – Premier Jim Prentice says Alberta’s economy is on a razor’s edge and deficits will be needed to prevent it from falling into the deep.

Prentice, in a conference call from Houston, said economists are telling him that without deficits the low price of oil could push Alberta into a recession and make matters much worse.

READ MORE: Conference Board says Alberta recession likely – Premier Jim Prentice disagrees

Alberta is struggling with collapsing oil prices that have siphoned billions of dollars from the treasury.

Prentice has refused to rule out clawing back public-sector salaries or imposing tax increases or a sales tax.

READ MORE: Alberta premier Prentice considers sales tax to fix ailing, oil-based economy

The premier also fuelled speculation that an election is coming this spring by saying he won’t proceed with any financial changes without a mandate from the people.

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Responding to a suggestion that he and his Progressive Conservatives failed to manage the economy in good times, the premier said he just took over the top job four months ago.