MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith: Alberta Budget

Recently, Finance Minister Travis Toews introduced Budget 2021: Protecting Lives and Livelihoods. Budget 2021 builds on the ongoing efforts of Alberta’s government to protect both lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic. It invests in healthcare and it positions the province for economic recovery with a continued focus on the efficient delivery of government services.

Although we are one year into Alberta’s COVID-19 response, Albertans still face a long road ahead until life returns to normal. While vaccines offer some hope, ongoing delays from the federal government mean widespread immunization will not be achieved for several months yet. This means that Alberta’s health care system will continue to remain under pressure for some time.

Budget 2021 makes a historic investment in healthcare to make sure the health system is properly resourced to keep fighting this pandemic. On top of the $21.4 billion in non-COVID health care spending – nearly $1 billion more than last year – the government has set aside another $1.25 billion in contingency funds specifically to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This represents the most ever spent on health care by any government in the province’s history.

This year’s budget also paves the way for growth in Alberta’s post-pandemic economy. Over $20 billion in capital infrastructure projects will create 90,000 new jobs now, when they are needed the most. Budget 2021 also includes $1.5 billion to support core sectors like agriculture, technology, energy and tourism, and $500 million in contingency funds to take advantage of further economic diversification opportunities that come our way later this year.

Alberta’s government is also taking a careful approach to spending that will help get the province’s finances back on track. Moving forward, government spending will be anchored to sound fiscal principles that will put us back on a path to a balanced budget. We will also keep our debt-to-GDP ratio below 30 per cent, which will allow us to bring our spending in-line with other provinces such as B.C., Saskatchewan and Ontario. Alberta’s hard-working public servants will also be asked to help find labour efficiencies so we can invest more in health care and economic recovery. While we’ve had to delay our timeline to eliminate the deficit in order to fight COVID-19, these solid fiscal principles will get us back on the path to balance as soon as possible.

Alberta, like the rest of the country, remains in the middle of the COVID-19 storm. But Albertans can rest assured that through Budget 2021, their government is preparing for brighter days. Alberta’s government will remain nimble to respond to the needs of Albertans as they emerge. We will continue to follow through on our commitments so that every Albertan can feel confident as we continue to navigate through these challenging times together. And most importantly, we will stick with Albertans every step of the way – protecting both their lives and their livelihoods.

— Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley – Devon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin releases 50-year Community Vision results

The comprehensive community vision has been divided into five core pillars.

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Screen grab/ https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#geospatial
COVID-19 cases continue to grow in the Wetaskiwin area

The City of Wetaskiwin currently has 141 active cases.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Most Read