It would appear spring is well on its way, and it’s been great to see so many people out and about taking advantage of the nice temperatures. The spring session of the Alberta Legislature is underway which means I’ll spend a lot of time back and forth on the QE2.
There’s no question the focus this sitting will be on the upcoming provincial budget. We’ve all heard the news stories and are aware this budget will be a lean one. There is a lot of belt tightening going on in businesses around the province and it’s time the Government did the same thing. The current level of spending is unsustainable and the responsible thing to do is address it.
The Premier knows this too, and I think where he comes from helps him identify with the rest of us. Sure he’s succeeded in business, but the fact that he started out by working in the mines in Alberta means a lot. I know a lot of people that have been rewarded because of their hard work, and it’s one of the things people respect the most about Albertans. It’s also safe to say that we understand there is a difference between wants and needs.
Let’s face it, we have it pretty good here in Alberta. We always have. We’re blessed with so much, and we live great lives because of it. We’re able to provide a very high standard of living for our families and loved ones, and hard work is always rewarded. And even though that will always be true for us, we also have to face the fact that the times may not often go as we might hope. We have been able to do great things with our resources, but we can’t always expect that income to stay the same.
This is the situation we now find ourselves in, and I’m proud to be part of a Government that is addressing it and planning for the future. In the past, our resources, especially oil, have provided enough income for us to fund some of the most expensive public services in the country. What we are now seeing is that, when the source of income tightens up, spending is no longer so practical. We are seeing countless examples in the private sector of companies reducing costs and spending more wisely. It’s the prudent thing to do.
This is all common sense, as you know. We Albertans take common sense seriously, especially when it comes to living within our means. So, we have some difficult decisions to make in the year ahead, and this upcoming budget reflects that.
I do want to point out that I am also optimistic. If there’s anyone who’s cut out to weather this storm, it’s we Albertans. We know the value of fiscal restraint and personal accountability. We are a common-sense group of people, and we’re more than capable of tackling these challenging times and coming out on top. As Albertans, it’s what we do.