The Canadian Taxpayers Federation rolled into Fort Macleod on Monday as part of a 25-community tour.
Federation director Derek Fildebrandt was at the wheel of a Ford F150 pickup hauling the 12-foot long Alberta Debt Clock.
The federation recently bought the pickup to replace an old one that made pulling the Alberta Debt clock a risky venture.
“The debt is a heavy load,” Fildebrandt said while parked across from The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police. “We needed a new truck to haul it.”
The point of the tour is to illustrate for Albertans just how quickly the province is sinking into debt.
Last Thursday Alberta’s debt passed the $10-billion mark and is projected to reach $21-billion by 2016-’17 and consume $1.4 billion a year in interest payments if spending is left unchecked.
“Making our great province debt free once again is the No. 1 priority for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in Alberta right now,” Fildebrandt said. “We are going to take the fight to as many towns and cities as we can to rally support and put the heat on politicians to take a stance.”
While Fildebrandt spoke with Fort Macleod residents who turned out, the debt clock continued to calculate Alberta’s debt at a rate of $150.37 per second, $9,022.07 per minute and $541,324.20 per hour.
The 2,730 kilometre Alberta Debt Clock Tour is intended to raise the alarm about Alberta’s exploding debt and get politicians to take a firm stance on getting the province’s finances back under control.
During the tour’s stop in High River earlier on Monday, Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith signed a pledge to balance the budget and make Alberta debt free.
Fildebrandt noted that Saturday marked the 10-year anniversary of then-Premier Ralph Klein standing on the steps of the McDougall Centre hoisting a sign over his head that read that Alberta’s debt was “Paid in Full.”
“This is a bittersweet anniversary for us,” Fildebrandt said. “Ten years ago we saw the culmination of a lot of sacrifice from Albertans, but we got there.”
“Since then our government has fettered away the Alberta Advantage to the point where we have spent the bulk of the sustainability fund and hold $10-billion in debt and growing.”
The Alberta Debt Clock tour continued on to Lethbridge after its stop in Fort Macleod.