EDMONTON, AB: With Alberta’s credit rating recently downgraded, Wildrose is calling for an action plan to rebuild Alberta’s credit rating by reducing the province’s debt limit, reducing overall government expenditures and focusing spending on front-line priorities, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
Part of the plan should include legislative amendments put forward by Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt during the fall sitting of the legislature to limit government borrowing. These amendments included:
- Lowering the increased debt ceiling to 7 per cent of GDP from 15 per cent;
- Cancelling ministerial stipends should the government exceed the debt ceiling; and,
- Forcing the government to go to the people in a referendum should they want to further raise the debt ceiling.
“Credit downgrades raise the cost of services across the province and send a signal to investors that Alberta continues to be a less friendly place to invest,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “With the path the NDP are heading down, things will only get worse. Albertans expect their government to put together a plan that protects our economy, not put the long-term prosperity of our province at risk.”
The recent downgrade delivered by Standard & Poor’s was in part due to, “projected weak budgetary performances in the next two years and moderate, but rapidly rising, tax-supported debt burden.”
“Doubling down on higher spending and economically harmful tax hikes will only continue to drive up our debt and lead to a further erosion of our credit rating,” Fildebrandt said. “Every dollar spent on higher debt serving costs is a dollar not building a road, training a teacher or getting a health procedure done.”
During the budget debate Fildebrandt repeatedly warned the NDP of an impending credit downgrade if it failed to change course. In response, Finance Minister Joe Ceci stated that he was “confident that we can show that we are worthy of a triple-A credit rating because we are sticking to our plan.”