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Ceci defends debt growth from credit rating agency criticism

Last Updated Mar 20, 2017 at 2:43 pm MST

(Government of Alberta newsroom)

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the province’s debt is “manageable” despite criticism from credit rating agencies following last week’s budget announcement.

Agencies including Moody’s Investor Service and DBRS Ltd. say they will review the province’s ratings, which are used to determine its cost of borrowing money, because of its growing debt levels.

The province expects a $10.3-billion deficit for the coming fiscal year which starts April 1 and forecasts that its debt will rise to $71.1 billion by 2020.

In a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Ceci says he expects Alberta revenues will grow with its economy over time to reduce the deficits.

Chamber president Adam Legge said the budget was based more on hope than being realistic and said the government must work to shrink the gap between revenue and spending.