Boom to bust: An economic timeline of Alberta

Ashley Terry, Global National

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April 22, 2008

The Alberta government delivers a surplus budget of $1.6 billion. The budget calls for a record $37 billion in spending.

Oil is trading at $115 a barrel.

June 24, 2008

The 2007-2008 fiscal year ends with the Alberta government posting a $4.6-billion surplus. The figure is twice as large as the surplus projected in the budget from spring 2007.

The bigger-than-expected surplus was a result of oil and gas revenues reaching $11 billion. Oil is trading at more than $130 a barrel.

The surplus fails to top the 2006 surplus of $8.7 billion, and the 2007 surplus of $8.5 billion.

July 8, 2008

Alberta premier Ed Stelmach announces that $4 billion of the provincial surplus will be spent on carbon capture and public transit projects in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

July 12, 2008

Alberta’s employment rate hit 72.2 per cent in June, up 0.2 per cent from May. The rate is the highest in Canada. By contrast, unemployment is the lowest in the country, at 3.3 per cent in June, down from 3.6 per cent in May.

Total employment in the province grew by 10,000 from May to June.

August 26, 2008

The Alberta government projects an $8.5-billion budget surplus for the fiscal year. The figure is $7 billion more than the surplus projected in the April budget, due to oil and gas revenues that exceeded expectations.

Oil royalties are $3.5 billion more than budgeted, and natural gas royalties are $3 billion more than budgeted.

The government projects oil prices to average $119.25 a barrel over the fiscal year, up from the $78 a barrel projected in the budget.

With the surplus, government savings for the year are set to hit $3.1 billion, while the Heritage Fund, a government savings account, is worth $17 billion.

September 30, 2008

The second fiscal quarter ends, and Alberta’s surplus has decreased to $2 billion rather than the projected $8.5 billion.

November 18, 2008

Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans releases the second quarter fiscal update saying Alberta’s surplus has decreased to $2 billion rather than the projected $8.5 billion.

The province’s Heritage Trust Fund has lost $1.2 billion in value in six months. It is now worth $15.8 billion.

The announcement comes as oil prices have slid below $55 a barrel, down from $147 a barrel in July.

December 17, 2008

Evans confirms that 2009-10 may bring Alberta’s first deficit since 1993-94.

Provincial law in Alberta prohibits a deficit, but the province created a $7.7-billion “sustainability fund” several years ago to provide cash to prevent it from going into the red.

February 19, 2009

Evans delivers an economic update saying that Alberta’s economy will contract by two per cent over the next year, will shed 15,000 jobs, and unemployment will hit 5.8 per cent.

Alberta is running a $1-billion deficit.

March 9, 2009

Stelmach speaks on an Edmonton radio show, saying that Alberta should go into debt to build infrastructure while construction costs are down and lending rates are low. He says that even with $6 billion dollars in capital funds available for infrastructure, borrowing makes sense.

The comments are a complete reversal of Alberta’s anti-debt philosophy of the past fifteen years.

April 3, 2009

Alberta’s largest unions release a report entitled "Sink or Swim — A Labour Stimulus Plan to Keep Albertans Afloat," urging the provincial government to spend money on job creation and retention in the upcoming budget.

April 7, 2009

The provincial government introduces a budget with a $4.7-billion deficit. It is Alberta's first deficit in 16 years and its largest ever.

The budget puts $7.2 billion this fiscal year toward infrastructure projects, with $23.2 billion over three years. Evans says the plan will create 80,000 jobs in the province.

Alberta expects deficits for the next three fiscal years, before returning to surplus in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

April 7, 2009

The provincial government introduces a budget with a $4.7-billion deficit. It is Alberta's first deficit in 16 years and its largest ever.

The budget puts $7.2 billion towards infrastructure projects this fiscal year, with $23.2 billion over three years. Evans says the plan will create 80,000 jobs in the province.

Alberta expects deficits for the next three fiscal years, before returning to surplus in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.







 
 
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