The province is set to release Alberta’s first-quarter fiscal update later this week, which Premier Jason Kenney said will likely show the largest deterioration of Alberta’s finances since at least the 1930s.
“This is going to be the biggest deficit in the history of Alberta by a country mile,” Kenney said Tuesday.
On Thursday afternoon, Finance Minister Travis Toews will present an overview of Alberta’s fiscal situation from 2019-20 and the first quarter of 2020-21.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the premier said Alberta is facing a deficit of more than $20 billion, in large part due to the “total collapse of revenues emanating from the coronavirus recession.”
Kenney said the collapse of energy prices has made the economic situation even tougher on Alberta.
“You’ll be seeing in the report on Thursday, a massive decline – north of $10 billion – in our revenue stream this year and that is particularly evident in oil and gas,” he explained.
“In the February 2020 budget, we based it on realistic projections on the average of private-sector forecasts for economic growth and oil and gas prices. But, of course, all of that changed beginning in the first week of March.”
Kenney added “there is a great fiscal reckoning on the horizon,” but added it’s not going to get in the way of protecting lives and livelihoods.
“That’s why we’ve made unprecedented investments, including $10 billion in capital spending this year to create 50,000 jobs. It’s why we accelerated the job creation tax cut. It’s why we’ve committed $14 billion in spending or deferrals to help people through the COVID crisis,” he said.
“Our debt will go up very significantly and in the future, we will, as a province, have to deal with that. That will be the message that Minister Toews lays out on Thursday.”