The Alberta boom rocks on

If you’re green with envy at Ireland that means you must be black with envy at Alberta.

Wow. A $4.3 billion surplus. That is literally federal government surplus levels.

“Alberta’s economy is strong and vibrant, with the population growing by an estimated 90,000 people last year, the equivalent of the City of Red Deer,” said Finance Minister Shirley McClellan.

Might have been more appropriate if she had said “the equivalent of the City of Miramichi, Campbellton, Edmundston, Bathurst, Dalhousie, Tracadie and Caraquet combined”.

But all the same in the end, no?

Education funding has been increased by $293 million. They have hired 1,700 new teachers in one year.

A new $200 million Energy Innovation Fund has been established to support energy development. Oops, how much is in Shawn Graham’s kitty to make New Brunswick the leader in energy development again?

$100 million more to the Science and Engineering Fund. $100 million ni New Brunwick would, presto, help Lord meet his R&D target? You think Klein could spare a $100M to help his old buddy?

The book value of the Heritage Fund on a consolidated basis is forecast to be $15 billion in 2006.

Now, for those of you that don’t know, the Heritage Fund is cash in the bank for Alberta – for a rainy day let’s say. In 2005, the fund earned $800 million in interest – more than New Brunswick’s entire education budget.

Give me Alberta’s annual surplus for just one year and I think we could implement an economic development program that would fix this friggin’ economy once and for all.

But that’s too forward thinking, I guess (or backwards). Alberta probably contributes something like $500 million a year through Equalization to New Brunswick every year. That would be more cash in the bank if Shawn Graham’s vision of a have province ever came true.

Do the math folks. Over the past seven years – just since the Lord was put on the throne, Alberta has probably sent New Brunswick $3 billion nor so in Equalization- straight off their bottom line.

Giving me the $4.3 billion one time doesn’t sound so stupid after all, no?

Black with envy.