Finance Minister Travis Toews says the provincial government is still mulling over all available options as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Grande Prairie—Wapiti MLA says the full fallout from the OPEC spike in oil supply and a decrease in demand due to COVID-19 may not yet be known, but the province continues to push for solutions.
“We are striking an expert advisory committee to provide us with advice as we go forward…but right now we are getting analysis together on all of our options. We are managing well what we are called to manage, [like] our operating budget, those are things we can manage and are sticking to that.”
Toews says the panel, led by economist Dr. Jack Mintz, will look through a slew of scenarios to try and help stimulate local economies. He adds he is working in lockstep with his federal counterpart as part of a countrywide discussion as to where to go next.
“I’m ensuring Minister Morneau understands the impacts to the Alberta economy with these events that are at play. Minister Morneau, of course, is doing what we are doing, as in identifying options available to them, and it’s my role to ensure they fully understand the impacts to the Alberta economy and broader energy industry.”
However, Toews says he knows the challenges faced by Albertans go well beyond just the big picture, as families are now facing major changes to their lives. On Sunday, the Government of Alberta announced the cancellation of all K-12 and post-secondary classes, as well as the shutting down of all daycares across the province.
“One thing with Albertans; we are persistent, we are resilient and we have managed through difficult times in the past and I am confident “we will manage our way through this.”
No timeline has been provided as to when the panel will release its findings.