The Edmonton Journal columnist Graham Thomson unpacks what Alberta’s out-of-control deficit numbers means for the Stelmach Tories, and how they got here. Last August, the government projected an $8.5 billion surplus. They just announced a $6.9 billion deficit. “The culprit, say government officials, is the price of natural gas that has fallen to $3.75 a gigajoule from around $13 last summer,” writes Thomson (natural gas normally generates a good healthy chunk of provincial government revenue). “The culprit, counter critics, is a government that didn’t save enough during the good times and doesn’t know how to be fiscally prudent during the bad.” Thomson’s take? Neither side’s entirely right.