Alberta hoardes money as others spend

Stelmach’s spending cuts will cause “economic and social misery in Alberta."

Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid pillories the Alberta government’s response to the downturn today. As other governments consider massive stimulus spending fueled with borrowed money, notes Braid, the Alberta Tories, who have $20 billion in savings to play with, float massive, 1990s-style spending and program cuts. Irony of ironies, it was the Tories, under former Premier Peter Lougheed, who created the province’s most important savings account, the Heritage Fund, and for just this kind of situation. “As if they never invented that fund, the Tories are talking about slowing work. Next they could start cancelling projects that keep people employed,” writes Braid. “Some of our key politicians are thinking like very wealthy hoarders who have managed to weather the meltdown with their money intact … For a government, though, sitting on the money at a moment like this is a recipe for economic and social misery in Alberta.”
Braid ends his column by appealing to Albertans for ideas on how to spend some of their reserves.

Calgary Herald