Finance Minister and Grande Prairie—Wapiti MLA Travis Toews says the Grande Prairie region could be well equipped to become a leader in diversification and help turn around the provincial economy. He has unveiled the 2021-2022 provincial budget, which includes a deficit projection of $18.2 billion.
He says the government is relying on every industry it believes has a natural competitive advantage. That includes traditional sectors like energy, agriculture, and forestry which he says will play a big role in the Grande Prairie area.
“It also includes the tech sector, aviation and aerospace, pharmaceuticals and health sciences, and tourism, which I also believe the Grande Prairie region has great potential with,” he adds.
Across Alberta, some of the major talking points of the budget include a $1.25 billion contingency to fight COVID-19. Almost $900 million will be added to the base budget for healthcare to reduce surgical wait times and increase continuing care and home care capacity.
Continuing care will be bolstered by $200 million this year, and the government’s investment of $140 million over four years into mental health and addictions treatment continues.
Toews says Budget 2021 also aims to put Alberta’s finances back on track, and, while the budget balance will not happen as hoped by 2024, he remains confident they will begin to see the ship sail more smoothly every year they go forward.
“There are going to some tough days and months ahead, and it is going to be a bit of a road back fiscally, but I remain optimistic and hopeful for the future of the province,” he adds.
In 2021-22, total revenue is estimated to be $43.7 billion. That is $1.4 billion more than the 2020-21 forecast of $42.3 billion.