Depending on who you ask, Alberta’s finances are either well and truly looking up under the steady hand of the ruling NDP, or in a great deal of trouble and in need of a new direction that only a new government can provide.
Whether ordinary Albertans will be able to cut through the political fog to see the true state of affairs remains anyone’s guess.
What is certain is that when it comes to finances, and a great deal of other things, the NDP and the United Conservative Party (UCP) remain deeply and bitterly divided.
In releasing his latest fiscal update last week, Minister of Finance Joe Ceci said the Notley NDP government has been able to lead Alberta out of one of the worst economic downturns ever experienced by this province.
“Our thoughtful and prudent approach has led to Alberta’s deficit dropping and the economic recovery strengthening,” said Ceci. “We will continue to work hard to ensure this recovery reaches all Albertans.
“Alberta’s economic growth and broad-based recovery show that we made the right choice in the face of the worst recession in a generation. Nearly 90,000 full-time jobs were created over the last year and Alberta’s GDP growth led the country at 4.5 per cent in 2017.”
Not surprisingly, UCP Leader Jason Kenney says the NDP has, on the contrary, been wholly unsuccessful in guiding the province forward in recent months.
“It’s astounding to see just how out of touch the NDP is with everyday Albertans,” said Kenney. “While the finance minister acts triumphant, Albertans are not sharing the NDP’s enthusiasm.
“Everywhere I go, I hear from Albertans whose household incomes have plummeted since the NDP came to power.
“With their numerous tax hikes and increased red tape, the NDP has made day-to-day living more difficult in our province while at the same time driving away much-needed job-creating investment.”
No one should be surprised that the NDP and the UCP are on completely different pages when it comes to Alberta’s finances – just like they are on virtually everything else.
Dan Singleton is the Mountain View Gazette editor