Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, issued the following statement in response to Moody’s Investor Services’ decision to re-affirm Alberta’s AAA credit rating but assign Alberta a negative outlook.
“We are pleased that Moody’s has affirmed our AAA credit rating. While today’s negative outlook is another consequence of the collapse in global oil prices, the rating agency confirmed the province’s credit strengths and low debt servicing costs.
“There is no question that Alberta’s and the broader Canadian economies are now facing serious shocks. We are seeing these shocks play out in the stock markets, in the value of the Canadian dollar, and in the price of oil. These shocks are having a serious effect on government revenues in all energy-producing jurisdictions – including ours.
“The Government of Alberta does not control the price of oil. But there are measures we can take to manage these shocks, and we are taking them.
“We have stabilized budgets to protect health care and education.
“We will also carefully manage spending on government programs to ensure government deficits don’t become unmanageable. All government spending programs are under review. There are many important priorities that will have to wait until our finances permit us to address them.
“The Government of Alberta is limiting debt to 15 per cent of GDP, half the average of Canadian provinces.
“And finally, we will do what we can within our scope and financial resources to reduce our vulnerability to these shocks, by promoting economic development and diversification. We have already taken some important first steps in this direction in our most recent budget.
“I want to reaffirm this government’s commitment to our province and its people – we will continue to put the best interests of Albertans first as we work to build a strong and resilient community. It is during times of challenge that Albertans rally together to support one another and that is what we are going to do.”