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Alberta running larger deficits than Ontario following recession: report

According to the Fraser Institute, the Alberta government has recently run deficits comparable to Ontario's historic deficit spending following the 2009 recession; Alberta's debt levels are also catching up to Ontario's


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CALGARY, Alta.—The Alberta government’s current string of budget deficits are substantially larger than Ontario’s deficits following the 2009 recession.

This is according to a new study, Race to the Bottom: Comparing the Recent Deficits of Alberta and Ontario, released May 30 by the Fraser Institute, a right-leaning public policy think-tank.

The study finds that over the past three years the Alberta government has run a deficit of $6,385 per person. This is compared to $3,864 in Ontario for the three years following the 2009 recession, during which time Ontario’s deficits were the largest by any province since the turn of the century.

The study also finds that while Ontario increased its debt by $5,500 per person between 2007 and 2013, the Alberta government is on pace to add twice as much debt per person—$11,000 by 2019.

The report says Alberta, which was debt free in 2015, is catching up to Ontario’s per-capita debt levels. In 2015, Ontario’s per-capita debt was $24,256 higher than Alberta’s. By 2019, that gap is expected to shrink to $14,597.

“The Alberta government’s staggering deficits and rapid run-up in debt will no doubt increase costs for taxpayers who have to service that debt, and could also lead to even lower credit ratings and add to the uncertainty already gripping the province,” said Ben Eisen, study co-author and director of the Fraser Institute’s Alberta Prosperity Initiative.


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