CALGARY, Alberta, Jan. 16, 2020 — Since 2007/2008, one year before the last recession, Alberta’s nominal provincial debt has increased by 204.5 per cent, the largest increase among the provinces, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
“The Alberta government’s chronic deficits over more than a decade have built a mountain of debt,” said Jake Fuss, economist at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Growing Debt Burden for Canadians.
The study finds that over the same time period (2007/2008 to 2019/2020), 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.
And 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.
“Because Alberta has consistently increased government spending, while failing to balance its books regardless of how the economy is performing, the debt has ballooned,” Fuss said.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Jake Fuss, Economist, Fraser Institute Jason Clemens, Executive Vice-president, Fraser Institute
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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org