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Alberta Debt Clock stops in Fort Macleod

Colin Craig, Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, was in Fort Macleod on June 9 with the debt clock.

The numbers of the Alberta Debt Clock grew steadily higher Monday in the parking lot across from The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod.
According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the province’s debt is growing by $344 per second, or $1.2-million an hour.
Colin Craig, Alberta director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said unchecked government spending can’t go on forever.
“I think people need to understand that when governments rack up a lot of debt it means that a lot of tax dollars get wasted on interest costs,” Craig said. “There’s also the ethical question of providing a bunch of services for today, and passing the bill off for the next generation to pay.”
The federation is touring its Alberta Debt Clock around the province, with plans to visit more than 20 Alberta communities.
Craig parks the trailer in high-profile locations or at community events and engages people in conversations about the debt.
When the debt clock arrived in Fort Macleod on Monday, Alberta’s debt had topped $45-billion.
Each Albertan’s share of that debt is about $10,500 — a number Craig said should alarm people.
The government can’t continue to overspend, Craig said, or it will eventually have to cut spending and that means slashing services that are important to Albertans.
“We saw that happen in Greece when they ran into debt problems,” Craig said. “Services like health care were impacted significantly. We’re not suggesting Alberta is going to turn into Greece tomorrow or the next day. We’re still a long way away from that, but what we’re trying to do is make sure we never get anywhere close to the Greece situation.”
When Rachel Notley and the New Democrats took office in 2015, Alberta’s debt was about $11.9-billion.
The debt had now topped $45-billion and left unchecked will top $53.3-billion by next March.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is pushing government to balance budgets and spend responsibly. The public can help.
“The first thing people can do is contact their elected officials and tell them to stop racking up a ton of debt and expecting the next generation to pay the bill,” Craig said.
Craig said people should ignore “fear mongers” who predict drastic cuts should government get it spending under control. The B.C. government, for example serves half a million more people for $2.5-billion less than the Alberta government spends.
“The math just doesn’t add up in terms of Alberta government spending,” Craig added.

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