Alberta Premier Alison Redford answered questions at a news conference held at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Alberta, on September 2, 2012.
Credits: IAN KUCERAK/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
EDMONTON -- Alberta Premier Alison Redford said she will make good on her campaign promises despite the province's quarterly budget report projecting a $3-billion deficit.
Redford told reporters at the legislature Sunday there is no need to fear more cuts after Solicitor General Jonathan Denis axed a $121-million construction project to train new police in Fort Macleod, Alta.
"From the very beginning, we had projected in our budget that was before the election, that there would be a projected deficit in this year," Redford said. "Even our campaign commitments did not contemplate spending this year that would change that deficit amount.
"So there's no reason to believe that there is any difference with respect to our plans. We're very confident with respect to the way forward."
And that includes keeping her promise to not raise taxes.
"We will not be increasing taxes, that is a commitment that I have made, that is absolutely not on the books," she said later in Calgary.
Redford said Finance Minister Doug Horner has made it clear the province has a solid fiscal plan.
"What we know and what I've always said and what Minister Horner talks about is ... that in a volatile economy you are always going to have to make choices," she said. "We're going to review, as he said, our operating, we're going to review our capital infrastructure plan to ensure that we are keeping our commitment to Albertans."
Redford dismissed observations made by opposition the decision to axe the Fort Macleod police training facility was politically motivated. The facility is in a riding the PCs lost to Wildrose.
She said the decision was made because the cops it was intended for deemed it unnecessary.
"It was very clear to me in the last three months, working with stakeholders, that what police officers and chiefs of police were saying was, 'We don't need this project and in fact if this project was to go ahead it wouldn't be a priority for us and we wouldn't use it'," Redford said. "They actually sent us a letter to that effect about three weeks ago.
"It's important to us, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, to listen to what our stakeholders are telling us."
Opposition parties and critics warned Saturday that Albertans should brace themselves for cuts, with NDP education critic David Eggen saying "nothing is safe."
The Tory government has also taken heat over the presentation of the budget, which Horner unveiled last week in a glossy brochure that left out some key details.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said the report could be in violation of Alberta's Fiscal Responsibility Act, but Redford said the Tories wanted to change the way they presented the information in order to get a clear snapshot in time.
"I believe that this comment in respect to what was or wasn't there is simply a red herring," Redford said. "We are fully confident that there has been nothing that hasn't been in compliance with the act. And more importantly, the auditor general said that, and that's good enough for me."
The Tories promised during Redford's election campaign last spring to spend $250 million building 50 new schools across Alberta. Fifteen new schools have opened for the 2012-13 school year.
-- with files by Katie Schneider