Friday, April 24, 2015

Questions for the Candidates: Heritage Savings Trust Fund

Back more than forty years ago, then-new Progressive Conservative Premier Peter Lougheed created the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

The fund was designed to be an investment in Alberta's future, and make funds available for those "rainy days" which occasionally strike this province.  I fully supported this fund, but I've never heard a definition of what would qualify as a "rainy day!"  By my calculation, we've had a couple of "rainy days" over the past few years yet I don't believe  the Fund was used to help any Albertans though those rough times.

We've heard the Prentice PCs talk about strengthening the Heritage Trust Fund, but I'd like to know what the other parties would do.

Question #4;  If your party forms Alberta's next government, what are you going to do with our Heritage Trust Fund and who and how will decide how it is spent,and by what criteria? 

1 comment:

  1. I’m not sure you requested a PC response to this question, Mayor Courtman, but I thought I would share our platform with respect to the Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

    The Prentice Plan will double savings in the Heritage Fund. Between our commitment to growing the Heritage Fund, we will also “Save for the Future” by using the Contingency Fund over the next three years to assist with operational costs of government. I want to talk a bit about the Contingency Fund as well because I’m not sure how many Albertans realize this fund exists, but first, to your question about the Heritage Savings Trust Fund…

    The Heritage Savings Trust Fund is unique in Canada and intended to safeguard Alberta’s future. It was established by a PC government: by Premier Lougheed in 1976.

    But since 1987, we have let our commitment to the Heritage Fund lapse. We will put that right.

    The fund currently sits at $15 billion. The Prentice Plan will ensure the fund doubles to $34 billion in 2024/25.

    Alberta’s energy resources are the birthright of all Albertans – present and future.

    Action: Invest oil revenues in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, doubling the size of the Fund by 2024/25.

    As with any family savings plan, our perseverance will pay off. Steadily, consistently and responsibly saving in the Heritage Fund will leave a lasting legacy for generations of Albertans – as it was designed to do.

    Investments in research and innovation are investments in future generations. The resulting discoveries and ideas give birth to new products and industries that can create countless opportunities for our children, grandchildren and future Albertans.

    Action: Provide stable funding for research and innovation.

    The people of Alberta are our strongest asset. Building upon past investment initiatives offers the potential to invest in lasting social improvements that increase in value and strengthen our society.

    Action: Make lasting social investments like Heritage Scholarships for young people.

    Action: Invest in health, education and heritage infrastructure.

    Alberta NEEDS Financial Security and a Debt-Free Future!!!

    Given the unexpected downturn in the global price of oil, and the unfortunate extent to which the Government of Alberta’s relies on this commodity price (over which we have absolutely NO control), we face a $7 billion shortfall in our 2015 budget.

    If we do nothing, we will burn through the Contingency Fund in 8 months. Then, we would burn through the Heritage Trust Found in 2 years.

    Not on our watch. Not on the watch of the renewed PC Alberta party, led by Premier Jim Prentice. Not on the watch of an MLA succession of more than one-third new elected representatives.

    Much like a family’s emergency funds, the contingency fund is there to help handle budget shocks and difficult situations. In the short-term it will be used to help pay operating expenses until the budget is balanced. Over time, Alberta’s debt will be paid off entirely.

    Action: Draw on the Contingency Fund to help pay operating expenses until 2017/18.

    Action: Starting in 2017/18 (once the budget is balanced), use a portion of energy revenues to replenish the Contingency Fund to its original $5 billion and to pay down Alberta’s debt overall.

    All of this information is included in The Prentice Plan, the PC Alberta solution to Alberta’s current economic challenges. To see The Prentice Plan in its entirety, please check out this link:

    Thank you very much, Mayor Courtman, for the opportunity to share information about the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, one of the ‘linchpins’ in “The Alberta Advantage”.

    Wade Bearchell
    PC Alberta candidate, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills