Opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling on the province to publicly release a much-anticipated report on Alberta’s finances when it’s presented to government this week.
“There is no good reason to delay the release of that report,” she said at a Tuesday news conference. “Albertans deserve to see it.”
The panel of experts, headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, was tasked with reviewing Alberta’s finances ahead of a fall budget.
While the panel’s report is due Thursday, the province has said it will be released publicly in September after review.
Last week, Premier Jason Kenney said the report will show that the fiscal situation of the province is worse than outlined by the NDP.
Alberta’s deficit was $2.1 billion less in 2018-19 than estimated in the last provincial budget, according to the latest government numbers.
The $6.7-billion deficit is significantly lower than in the budget laid out by the NDP in March 2018. It was the last budget tabled before the April provincial election that saw the UCP win a majority victory.
Notley retorted that the recent fiscal documents were prepared by government officials.
“I have every confidence that we operated on the basis of all the best information we had at hand,” she said.
Christine Myatt, spokesperson for the premier, said that the government won’t comment on the report ahead of its release.
“At that time, the Minister of Finance will release a brief statement,” she said in an email Tuesday.
Notley also criticized the UCP for not producing a shadow budget while in Opposition, and said the NDP will consult with Albertans on one.
“We will be travelling across the province to meet with Albertans about the budget and hear their opinions,” Notley said.
NDP MLAs have said they believe the MacKinnon report will set the stage for cuts, warning of a “full-frontal attack” on the public sector.
Notley described the shadow budget as a way to show Albertans a strategic financial plan that protects public services and jobs.