'Surgical' Alberta budget won't have across-the-board cuts, finance minister says

Thursday’s budget will affect every area of government including the public sector, but the cuts will not be as drastic as those of the Klein era, says Finance Minister Travis Toews.

“It will be a budget of restraint but this isn’t 1993,” Toews said, referring to the 20-per-cent cuts under former Alberta premier Ralph Klein. “This will be a thoughtful, surgical budget … this isn’t going to be a budget of across-the-board cuts.” 

Earlier Wednesday, the Alberta Federation of Labour predicted 113,500 Albertans would lose their jobs if the government adopted every recommendation in the MacKinnon report. 

“The cuts to the public sector simply are not going to need to be that,” Toews said after stating the AFL numbers were “not accurate at all.” 

Toews said the government doesn’t feel compelled to adopt every recommendation in the report but some will be reflected in Thursday’s budget. 

He said the budget will chart a new course for the Alberta. The government is aiming to return to balance by the end of its mandate. 

Toews made the remarks in a traditional pre-budget event for finance ministers. Usually ministers don new shoes, but in recent years, ministers have put on old footwear that reflect a theme. 

Toews chose a two-year-old pair of what he describes as “hard-working ranch boots you might not want in the office.” 

The boots “speak to the character of Albertans and that’s a character of resilience, self-responsibility and a character of strong work ethic,” Toews said.

The budget will be released Thursday around 3:15 p.m. 

Premier Jason Kenney is making a province-wide address which will be livestreamed on his Facebook page at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday. 

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