In the days leading up to the provincial election, MyGrandePrairieNow.com will be publishing the answers to questions posed to candidates running in the Grande Prairie, Grande Prairie-Wapiti, and Central Peace-Notley ridings. They are published as submitted within a 150 word limit.

Q: How important is it for Alberta to have a balanced budget?

Grande Prairie

Tracy Allard, UCP
I think it is critical to get our finances in order. We cannot mortgage our children’s future.

Grant Berg, Alberta Party
We need to balance the budget but when is a challenge to call. Any government promising a balanced budget this term is dreaming. With a down economy and no new pipeline flowing for three years the cash into the government isn’t going to cover it. Deep cuts would throw us into a full blown recession. There’s the catch 22, as we add debt, we add debt servicing making that balanced budget even further away. Our spending needs to focus on developing investment. On social issues we need identify why we have these issues and work on prevention rather than throwing money at cleaning up growing problems that tax healthcare, police, the courts and jails.

Rony Rajput, Independent
Extremely Important. With mismanaged and Inefficient govt. we will never be able to balance the budget. So before we do anything else we have to Fix The System. How do we fix the system ? By better management. For better management we need honest and professional managers in politics. Politics is a management. In our existing system this is a job done by non management people (existing politicians). That’s why all levels of govt. are in deficit all the time. According to Canadian taxpayers federation Alberts’s deficit is 7 billion dollars right now and its going to be 50 billion dollars by 2021/2022. If we don’t start managing very soon the situation is going to be worst from worse. With better management we will have a better system and greater efficiency. Remember Today’s Deficit is Tomorrow’s Tax.

Bernard Hancock, Freedom Conservative Party
No response

Ray Robertson, Alberta Independence Party
No response

Todd Russell, NDP
It is important to properly manage government finances. That is why Rachel Notley has a plan to balance the budget by 2023. Only Rachel Notley has a plan to balance the budget. While times were tough in Alberta Rachel Notley’s government made sure our education and healthcare systems were maintained. When Rachel Notley balances the budget in 2023 Alberta will have the lowest level of government debt in Canada.

Grande Prairie-Wapiti

Terry Dueck, Independent
No response

Shannon Dunfield, NDP
We are the only party that has a plan to balance the budget. We are going to do this without cutting healthcare and education. Jason Kenney’s 4.5 billion dollar corporate tax giveaway will make our situation worse. We value the services our government provides to all Albertans and our plan to balance the budget will not affect our education and health care systems.

Jason Jones, Alberta Party
Budgets are always a necessity. A balanced budget seems to be a sound bite these days. Everyone promises it, few deliver it on time. For myself, as a business analyst, my concern is more with “deficit”. Deficit spending must have a tangible, measurable return that outperforms any possible interest expense. The Alberta Party is the only Party that has presented a shadow budget every year for the last two years. As of 2018, the Alberta Party would have a balanced budget by 2023.

Travis Toews, UCP
No response

Central Peace-Notley

Todd Loewen, UCP
No response

Marg McCuaig-Boyd, NDP
Alberta needs to balance its budget and we will. But as a parent and as a former cow-calf operator, I also know that there are times you need to incur debt to protect your family’s future. When we came to government in 2015, the price of oil had collapsed and government revenues had fallen dramatically. We could have added to the suffering by laying off the teachers and nurses our families needed, and by neglecting infrastructure. We chose to add teachers, doctors and nurses and to fix roads and bridges. If we had not taken those measures, the recession would have been much worse. Our government will balance the budget by 2023, and we will do so without jeopardizing services. Jason Kenney’s reckless plan to give tax cuts to the biggest corporations will blow a $4.5 Billion hole in our budget and put those services at risk.

Travis McKim, Alberta Party
No response

Wayne Meyer, Liberal
No response