Higher Oil Prices Lowers Alberta’s Deficit
I wanted to lead off this column by focusing on some good financial news for our province. Alberta was expected to have a deficit of over $20 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year. We ended the year with a $16.9 billion deficit. According to the finance ministry the biggest reason for this is higher-than expected oil prices. This is an important reminder of the central role our oil and gas sector will be for our economy.
While our deficit is lower than expected, our government is committed to balancing future budgets. Albertans elected our government because of our commitment to fiscal responsibility. Our government is also committed to setting a time frame for balancing the budget and repaying debt. This will be done once the pandemic is over and government has a clearer idea of the long-term global impacts. We all made so many sacrifices and can now continue the work of growing our economy and making this province the best place to live, work and play.
Quite a few residents of our riding have asked me about the plan for the 2021-22 school year. As of now, our province is fully open, and the government expects in-class learning to resume. However, as we learned with the pandemic, the situation can change very quickly, and the education ministry has contingency plans in place for online and at-home learning if need be.
With that being said, measures such as, disinfecting high-traffic areas in schools, improved ventilation, and staying home when not feeling well will help in ensuring a smooth return to normal learning for our students.
Shell Canada donated $30,000 through its community grants program. The monies were split between eight organizations, six of which provide crucial support and services in our riding. Recipients included: Lamont County Housing Foundation, Little Warriors, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library, Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank, Fort Saskatchewan Minor Sports Association, and Friends of Bruderheim School Society.