Wildrose leader Danielle Smith speaks to the media as the Wildrose unveil their 10-year capital plan
Credits: Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency
EDMONTON – The Wildrose Party says their capital plan would effectively tackle infrastructure projects without inheriting a mountain of debt.
Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith unveiled Wednesday a 10-year, $48-billion capital plan to fund infrastructure projects like highways, hospitals and schools.
"Our plan invests in Alberta's priorities without putting our finances at risk and puts forward new and innovative ideas that put Albertans first," she said.
"The PC government's capital spending has been out of control. It's not focused (and is) shrouded in secrecy."
The WRP says Alberta currently spends about 50% more per person on infrastructure compared to spending levels across Western Canada and Ontario.
Premier Alison Redford recently announced her government will begin taking on long-term debt in order to meet the infrastructure that is needed.
"We do not believe that once you start down the track of borrowing money, that a government will ever stop," Smith said.
"It's like a crack addition, once they start going into debt, they keep going on and on and just never stop."
Deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk issued a retort, just minutes after the Wildrose unveiled the capital forecast.
Lukaszuk calls the "so called" plan weak, and in no way identifies which infrastructure projects that they would delay or cut.
Anyone can put together a spreadsheet of numbers over 10 years, he quipped.
"(They) refuse to come clean with Albertans over exactly which roads will not be paved this year, which schools won't be built and which health-care facilities will be delayed," Lukaszuk said in a release.
"Albertans waiting for a road to be paved in their community, or an overpass to be constructed, or need a new school or health facility should be asking those hard questions of the official opposition."
Finance critic Rob Anderson called Lukaszuk's comments "laughable."
"They're asking them what we would cut. We're not going to be irresponsible and say we're going to cancel this person's school, this community's hospital," he said.
"That's not what we're about, we want to build. We want to build a lot of infrastructure. For the government to come in and constantly say that is frankly an insult to Albertans' intelligence."
Anderson added that their plan identifies a key priority list that Albertans would be able to see and understand.
It's something that Redford's "reckless" capital plan lacks, added Smith.
"They want to hold back announcements until the next election. So they can go around to communities like Fort Macleod and promise them a police college, and then have the ability to cancel once they get elected," Smith said.
"That's the reason they don't wan to publish a priority list."