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Finance Minister Toews hopes budget deep dive bears fruit

Just under a month ago, Travis Toews was hoping for a victory in the Grande Prairie-Wapiti riding. Now, the MLA finds himself in one of the most sought after cabinet positions a politician can get.

The new Director of the Treasury and Finance Minister is still in a state of disbelief, despite already having a major announcement under his belt. Earlier this week, he named a “blue ribbon” panel of experts to do a deep dive into the province’s financial past and future.

“We have a very talented caucus right through and I also knew that the premier would select his cabinet with a lot of thoughtfulness. I’ve been appointed to this role and I’m humbled by that appointment, humbled to serve Albertans in this fashion, and committed to doing it to the best of my ability.”

However, Toews knows the honeymoon period can only be brief, as the United Conservative Party campaigned on a promise to fix the economy. He hopes his roots give him an edge when it comes to pragmatic change.

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“The connection to the region and sectors in the region gives me a good perspective of some of the challenges facing greater Alberta. I think it provides an advantage, actually, as we take a look at the issues facing the province today.”

The task is made more difficult when looking at the current set of credit ratings facing the province. Moody’s currently ranks Alberta with an Aa1, or negative outlook, with Standard & Poor’s only slightly better at A+ with a stable outlook.

Toews is hopeful the financial promises made by his party in the leadup to an election victory will translate into a far more optimistic future for the province.

“We’re going to move forward making the best decisions on behalf of Albertans, and we believe in time our credit rating will reflect that. Obviously, there are always factors beyond our control that affect credit rating. However, we are just going to make sure we are implementing and executing the platform.”

The appointment of the budget panel was set with a goal of balancing the Alberta budget by the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

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