Fort Macleod and district residents concerned with Alberta’s mounting debt can send a message next week to the government.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation will have its debt clock on display Monday, July 14 from 3:15-3:45 p.m. in the parking lot across from The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police.
“We want to raise awareness and get people engaged,” said Derek Fildebrandt, Alberta director of the federation.
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier of the Wildrose Party will also be present to discuss Alberta’s debt and hear from his constituents.
The federation’s debt clock shows how quickly the province’s debt — estimated at $10-billion — is mounting.
Fildebrandt said in an telephone interview last week the federation is hopeful Albertans will turn out in force when the debt clock arrives in their community.
Fildebrandt said a large turn-out at each stop will send the government an important message that Albertans are concerned about debt.
“They absolutely need to be concerned,” Fildebrandt. “This is going to continually eat up a larger share of the provincial budget and revenues in interest payments.”
“We’re eventually going to have to pay this off.”
Fildebrandt said the average person desires to be debt free with their money invested.
The government is not doing that.
“They are not saving, but they are going into debt,” Fildebrandt said. “That’s just unacceptable in the wealthiest jurisdiction in North America.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates the province’s debt at $10-billion at present.
The federation predicts the province’s debt, if not checked soon, will reach $21-billion by 2016
The federation wants to get MLAs committed to eliminating debt and to make a pledge to make it happen.
Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith will be at the debt clock’s stop in High River earlier on Monday.
“We expect her to make a commitment and pledge to balance the budget and eliminate the debt,” Fildebrandt said.
The federation is hopeful Stier will make a similar pledge in Fort Macleod.
From Fort Macleod, the debt clock moves on to Lethbridge on its tour of the province.
Fildebrandt is hopeful people turn out in force because their presence will send a message to Premier Dave Hancock and the government.
“If we get anybody out to talk about provincial finances in the middle of July we know we’ve tapped something,” Fildebrandt said.