Amidst both the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued commodity pricing, Alberta Finance Minister and Grande Prairie—Wapiti MLA Travis Toews continues to push optimism as an important currency as we head into 2021.
Despite the most recent fiscal update projecting a 2020-2021 deficit of approximately $21.3-billion, it remains $2.8 billion less than anticipated in the first quarter. Toews says that is largely due to improving revenue and a freeze on spending. He adds it’s a start, but a lot of work remains on the table.
“Because Alberta’s economy was hit so hard, we really believed it would be critically important to position the province for economic, so we were the first province to roll out a plan,” he says.
“That plan very much was at the time, and continues to be a work in progress,” he adds.
Toews says other major revenue-generating sectors, such as tourism, tech, and forestry may be linchpins to getting the province back on a more steady financial path. He suggests that there will be other, more specific needs put in place in the meantime to help inform decision making and ensure they are delivering responsible financial services.
“Keep net to GDP ratio below 30 per cent, ensure delivering government services on at least a per capita basis, as efficiently as provinces comparable to Alberta.”
Toews adds that despite making decisions which go against the platform the United Conservative Party ran on, like delaying the plan to balance the budget by the end of the current term in 2023, he remains steadfast that the job will get done.