Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education Donald Scott spoke about the economy at today’s Fort McMurray Construction Association, Annual General Meeting today.
Scott delivered a speech written by the MLA for West Yellowhead and serves as the President of the Treasury Board and as the Minister of Finance.
Scott’s speech was sobering, talking about some of the details the government is currently combing through in an effort to cut expenses and tighten the fiscal belt.
He noted that for every $1 drop in the price of oil the province loses $250 million in revenue.
“We are taking a look at our expenses, we are taking a look at potential revenue generation, and we’re not going to ask Albertans to start paying more before our government has taken a hard look at all of our expenses,” said Scott.
Premier Jim Prentice announced a five per cent pay cut to all cabinet ministers and his own salary yesterday afternoon.
The move according to Scott was a unanimous vote within the cabinet, it’s expected to save $600,000 in salaries.
The Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA thinks this is a great time for the province to invest in innovation, “I had a great meeting with some people yesterday, going around the globe but focused on the United-States, trying to make sure that we get new business in Alberta. So that when businesses are thinking about relocating to the United-States or around the globe we want to make sure that they consider Alberta, and see Alberta’s advantages.”
Premier Jim Prentice will be in Washington soon, as he continues to push for the Keystone X-L Pipeline which would deliver oilsands crude to the refineries on the U.S Gulf Coast.
Scott said the pipelines are crucial in giving Alberta competitive pricing on the market, “Jim Prentice is going down to Washington to lobby for Keystone X-L, but we also have Energy East, our Premier has been talking to Premiers right across Canada to make sure that we’re getting the market access. Any pipeline in any direction is going to be to Alberta’s advantage.”
The Minister of Innovation and Advanced education said that Albertan’s should expect a budget that reflects fiscal discipline.
Although one that will still meet core services while tightening belts in terms of government expenses.
The provincial budget will be delivered sometime after the beginning of the Spring session of the Legislature which begins on Mar. 10, 2015.