Alberta Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith
Credits: IAN KUCERAK/QMI AGENCY
Danielle Smith, the Wildrose leader, throws down the gauntlet.
The Redford Tories will borrow bucks and go into debt to build stuff while talking about how tough it is to balance even their day-to-day operating budget - a modest promise now not a promise.
This double-whammy drives Smith up the wall who says she can balance the books and spend $50 billion over 10 years on construction projects without debt.
"This is a government that has lost the right to govern," says the Wildrose leader.
"They did not campaign on this. They do not have a mandate to do this. If we could recall politicians we would have a number of MLAs in serious trouble, including the premier."
With recall, which we don't have, voters can petition to have an elected official removed.
Smith says she "can guarantee" if Redford had run on "billions in promises and borrowing billions to pay for them she would not have been elected. She would have been lucky to win 10 seats."
"We pointed out to Albertans during the election Redford was on a mission to change the character of Alberta. The way she's changing it is she's turning us into a fiscal basket case."
"I'm appalled we have a premier who will say anything to get elected and has no conscience when she breaks her promises left, right and centre."
The leader of the biggest opposition party goes on about how Unsteady Eddie banked on an oil and gas price rebound while running deficits and blowing through coin saved up in the boom.
Now Redford is hoping the oil and gas powered roller coaster heads skyward sooner rather than later.
"If Ed was a Vegas gambler, Redford has doubled down," says Smith.
"She is expecting oil and gas prices are going to bail her out. She's living in a parallel universe."
Smith says during the election everyone knew provincial Tory spending promises would mean higher taxes or debt.
"She sold a bill of goods. Now she's finally coming clean," says Smith.
"We have the highest level of revenues coming in and we have a premier who can't pay the bills. It's clear the premier has absolutely no desire to do what it takes to restrain spending."
Smith is also not amused with Redford's comments about former premier Ralph Klein's killing off of the debt.
The premier says the debt was toasted in 2004 but the quality of life wasn't what it could have been because there were too few schools, hospitals and roads.
"I can't believe she's so quick to trash Klein's legacy," says Smith.
The Wildrose leader says Ralph "put a Paid in Full sign on the province's mortgage" and socked away $15 billion in the province's bank account.
"We had the Alberta Advantage everybody talked about. We were a leader on the economic and political front. Klein did so much for this province by clearing off the debt. He was willing to make the tough decisions."
"I remember a high quality of life. I don't know what she's talking about. I think Ms. Redford needs to start thinking about what her legacy is going to be."
"I don‘t think Albertans have ever seen a premier like this, with so many broken promises, so many ethical challenges and an absolute inability to get the fiscal house in order."
"I had a boss who said if you have a plan and you don't have the money then you don't have a plan. You have to go back and change the plan. You can't just keep charging ahead hoping somehow oil and gas prices are going to recover and somehow miraculously pipelines are going to bail you out of this problem."
The table is set.
Redford figures Albertans will not be appalled by the prospect of debt.
The premier says her Tories are trying to improve health care, education and communities and they will come up with a plan to pay back the borrowing and limit how much red ink can be spilled.
As for running a deficit in the 2013 day-to-day operating budget, Redford says her people are looking for efficiencies.
She believes the opposition attack her because they realize their policies "don't resonate with Albertans."
Redford adds she doesn't mind more argy-bargy.
"What does my 10-year-old tell me? If you don't have ideas you call people names."
Ouch. You have the feeling the two leaders do not exchange Christmas cards.
For Smith's part, she's asked if Albertans will throw their stake in with Redford?
"I certainly hope not. I think Albertans expect this government to behave in a certain way and they do nothing but let them down," says Smith.
It is going to be a most interesting new year.