Alberta government debt more than doubled since one year before the recession in 2007/2008, says public policy think tank the Fraser Institute. It’s the largest increase among all provinces in that time period.
“The Alberta government’s chronic deficits over more than a decade have built a mountain of debt,” Jake Fuss, economist at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Growing Debt Burden for Canadians, stated in a news release.
“Because Alberta has consistently increased government spending, while failing to balance its books regardless of how the economy is performing, the debt has ballooned.”
The report said Alberta’s nominal provincial debt has increased by 204.5 per cent and Alberta’s government debt as a share of the provincial economy went from -13.4 per cent (the province had more assets than debt) to 10.6 per cent, a swing of 24.0 percentage points—by far the largest increase among the provinces.
The report also said Alberta’s provincial per-person debt grew by 184.0 per cent—also the largest increase among the provinces by a wide margin.
“Consequently, Alberta has changed from the only province in a net financial asset position in 2007/08—meaning it had more assets than debt—to the province with the fastest-growing provincial debt burden,” said the Fraser Institute.
Mario Toneguzzi is a business reporter in Calgary.
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