True to form, the Kenney government will move quickly, this time in trying to stimulate an Alberta economy that is in free-fall. The economy could use the help.
As recently as mid-February there was optimism about the Alberta economy. It didn’t last. First came the Coastal GasLink blockades. Then the Teck Frontier Mine fiasco. COVID19, previously a concern, graduated to pandemic status and then proceeded to ravage China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. It has now gripped France and Spain. The number of cases in the US and Canada leap daily. The Saudis acted during the COVID confusion and broke an oil production truce with Russia, flooding the world with oil at the moment oil consumption was dropping. As a result, oil prices have spilled off the table. All of this coming after five years of a soft economy in Alberta, due largely to low oil prices caused by pipeline constraints. The world economy has been dealt a body blow but few places will feel the impact as acutely as Alberta.
The Alberta Government has reacted by acknowledging that their deficit reduction targets must be delayed while they turn their attention to jump starting the economy. As always, they are moving quickly and with force. We expect that a number of fiscal stimulus measures will be announced. They will certainly be announced this week. A senior official indicated to New West that they would ‘spend whatever it takes’. Another official confirmed to us that they are willing to consider supporting private sector initiatives too.