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This week, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews released the province’s second-quarter fiscal update and showed a much lower-than-expected deficit due to higher energy prices.

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The province is now expected to run a deficit of $ 5.8 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021, compared to an initially projected deficit of $ 18.2 billion.

“Today I am pleased to report that our economic recovery is taking hold,” Toews said at a news conference Tuesday.

The update shows that the province is projected to reach total debt of more than $ 109 billion by fiscal 2021, which is $ 9 billion less than expected.

“Last February, when we published our budget, we expected the province’s economy to grow 4.8% in 2021. However, our recovery continues to far exceed those expectations. Alberta’s economy, measured by real GDP, is now forecast to grow 6.1% this year, ”Toews said.

Alberta’s unemployment rate has also dropped to around nine percent from 11 percent in 2021.

The province has benefited from a surge in oil and natural gas prices this year, which saw the price of oil nearly double and the price of natural gas nearly triple, until a recent decline in the prices of both commodities during the month of November.

Opposition NDPs responded to the announcement by highlighting concerns about inflation that have continued to intensify in recent months.

“Thanks to the UCP, inflation costs you more in income taxes while reducing the purchasing power of benefits for families, seniors and Albertans with disabilities,” said Shannon Phillips, financial critic of the NDP. .

While Toews insisted that his government would not raise taxes to stabilize provincial revenues, the NDP argued that due to the UCP cuts, property taxes, school fees, tuition, and interest on student debt would be more. expensive for Albertans.

“So this update may seem like Christmas has come early for the UCP government,” Phillips said, “but for Alberta families, Christmas seems more expensive than ever, with higher taxes and higher costs for everything. what’s coming in the New Year. “

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