Smith calls Trudeau government a “delusional adversary”
“I believe our province is on the cusp of an unprecedented and prolonged energy resource boom.”

Mike Campbell

February 22, 2024

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith unveiled the United Conservative Party’s budget strategy for the upcoming fiscal year, taking a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the process. 

Smith calls Trudeau government a “delusional adversary”

Premier Danielle Smith took aim at the Trudeau Government, predicting they will lose the next federal election.

“It is going to be an exciting time for our province and for Canada, especially once we finally get a federal government that acts like a strategic partner rather than a delusional adversary,” she said. 

Smith’s address highlighted a “long term” plan for fiscal sustainability without succumbing to the volatility of the energy sector.  

“Bluntly stated, our province has become unsustainably dependent on non renewable resource revenues,” she said. 

Investing in the Alberta Heritage Fund

A central theme of Smith’s vision is a revitalized focus on the Alberta Heritage Fund, echoing the foresight of past provincial leaders. The UCP leader noted that her government passed a law last year mandating that all income earned in the Alberta Heritage Fund must be invested in the fund rather than spent.

The Premier said the plan for the upcoming fiscal year, “we hope to invest and reinvest approximately $3 billion of surplus and investment income back into the Heritage Fund, increasing its value to almost $25 billion. That’s up from 17 billion just a couple of years ago.”

“This puts us back on the right track,” she added. 

Smith further expressed an intention to remain fiscally disciplined by instructing Finance Minister Nate Horner to limit government spending to below the legislated rate cap of inflation plus population growth, “not just during lean years with lower oil prices, as we expect next year, but also in years when high oil and natural gas prices result in billions of surplus provincial dollars.” 

The Premier acknowledged that while spending cuts aren’t required in the upcoming budget, the softer oil and gas revenues will require more restraint than previously projected. 

She further noted that the UCP’s promised personal income tax cuts “will have to wait a year and be phased in responsibly.”

Opposition leader Rachel Notley criticized Smith’s plan for not including enough of an increase to healthcare spending than what Smith hinted will take place.

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