Ugh, ouch. Let’s hope this is the economic bottom. If it isn’t, God help bedraggled Alberta.
The government’s first-quarter fiscal report paints the worst picture in modern memory, more devastating than the crash of the 1980s or the Great Recession of the 2000s.
I’ve read dozens of Alberta budgets and quarterlies. Some were obscenely stuffed with cash. Others flirted with public poverty.
This is the first one that makes me feel like crying.
It’s a snapshot of a province that no longer generates the wealth to support itself, and certainly not to support this NDP government.
It appears to validate what the opposition has been saying all along — that NDP policy, not just weak oil prices, is seriously hurting investment and recovery.
Spending in the energy sector now stands at only half of what it was in 2014.
Rebuilding Fort McMurray will provide some investment (mostly public). But overall new spending in the province will fall again by 16 per cent in 2016, and a further two per cent next year.
Corporate profits are expected to fall by 27 per cent, much worse than the 18 per cent forecast only a few months ago.