NDP Leader Rachel Notley has met with local groups to discuss their priorities for the province’s budget.

The meeting was timely, as it directly followed the announcement of a nine per cent spending cut to government programs.

Notley criticized the decision, arguing everyone needs to do their part during the economic downturn.

“Jim Prentice taking a five per cent pay cut is not the same as a child who is in care, at risk of death or serious injury, having to wait another year for someone to look at what needs to be fixed in the system. Those are two very different impacts and this premier doesn’t seem to get that.”

She argues Alberta could help deal with falling oil prices by diversifying the economy, supporting other industries like forestry and agriculture.

Grande Prairie was the second to last meeting of the NDP’s pre-budget tour, and so far, 
Notley says she’s surprised to hear that what Albertans are willing to do to deal with the projected deficit is reportedly not in line with what the government is doing.

“They think that we might need to look at multi years of deficit, and they think that we need to look at progressive taxation and looking at raising the corporate tax a little bit.”

The NDP leader notes that the Grande Prairie region is actually faring well during the economic downturn, as it has its forestry and agriculture industries to fall back on.

If a provincial election is called next month, Notley says the NDP would be near ready.