Opposition says Alberta surplus really a deficit

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner. (QMI Agency files)

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner. (QMI Agency files)

Matt Dykstra, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:42 PM ET

EDMONTON — Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner says the province’s books are back in black with a $1.2-billion operational surplus — but opposition critics peg the number at a $3.45-billion deficit.

During the province's third quarter fiscal update on Wednesday, which covers the first nine months of the 2013-14 fiscal year ending December 2013, Horner said the government managed an operational surplus of $1.2 billion.

While Horner expects the surplus to grow to $1.4 billion by the end of March, he said the province's revenues will also fluctuate and Albertans shouldn't expect a loosening of the provincial purse.

"We will deal with the pressures and challenges that come from a growing population, but the spending taps will not be opened up," said Horner. "Today's surplus will be used to cushion future drops in revenue."

Horner said Alberta will likely finish off the year with a $335 million consolidated deficit that includes capital spending and borrowing. The government had predicted a $1.97 billion deficit in Budget 2013.


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