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Alberta Debt Clock stops in Grande Prairie

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A giant scoreboard on the roads of Grande Prairie likely turned some heads last week. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s debt clock made a stop in the Swan City Thursday, driven by Alberta Director Colin Craig.

Craig says the clock shows the province’s debt rising by $344 a second. He hopes to raise awareness of what he calls the government’s “unsustainable” debt.

“We don’t think it’s fair for the government to ring up all this debt and then pass the bills off to young kids to have to pay for,” Craig explains. “More debt means the government has to take more of our tax dollars and spend them on interest costs instead of on services that people actually care about.”

As of the end of March, the provincial government was $43.4 billion in debt and is paying $1.42 billion in annual interest costs. Before the last provincial election in March 2015 it stood at $11.9 billion. Craig wants the government to look to its neighbours to the west as an example of how to get the debt under control.

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“British Columbia provides the same services for a fraction of the cost, so we know that if the government curtailed its spending a little bit, got it down to B.C. levels, then we could stop our debt clock; it wouldn’t have to keep going up and up and up.”

Based on the latest statistics in 2017, the Alberta government spends nearly $2,700 more per person compared to British Columbia, while collecting roughly $1,300 less in tax. Craig hopes the travelling clock helps people visualize how quickly this province’s debt is growing.

“We’re hoping that people pick up the phones and send emails to their MLAs and tell them to get spending under control. We certainly have an election coming up next year so we’re hoping that this issue will be on voters’ minds and that they’ll pressure political parties to get spending under control.”

The provincial tour started July 5th and took the clock to cities across Alberta over the next two weeks.

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