Alberta’s government will take “prudent measures” in its upcoming 2009 budget, said Premier Ed Stelmach after Calgary media reported the government would take advantage of cutbacks not seen since the 1990s in dealing with the faltering economy.

“Albertans expect us to take early, deliberate and balanced action on the economy and we’ll do that,” said Stelmach. “We’ll stimulate the economy by continuing to invest in necessary public infrastructure and we’ll use our savings to cushion any dramatic decline in provincial revenues.”

Despite several questions from reporters to clarify reports that the government was going to use “Klein-like” cutbacks to deal with the economic downturn, Stelmach said he “never used the word ‘cuts.’”

Stelmach told the Calgary Herald last week that his government may “go back to the same strategies” that were “used in the early 1990s.”

“We’ve got people working, they are generating wealth in the province and it’s people working that’s going to rebuild the economy,” said Stelmach.

“That does not mean we won’t go through a budget to look at the areas where we can be pragmatic and prudent in our budgeting, we’ll have to do that.

“But like I said, we’ll protect our health, education programs, (and) the most vulnerable Albertans.”

Stelmach did say the government might delay certain projects and programs to save money.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann said last week that they would oppose any cuts to the public sector in reaction to Stelmach’s comments last week.

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