When the Provincial Treasurer moves the motion "that the Legislative Assembly approve in
general the fiscal policies of the government," it is to great fanfare. This motion comes
immediately before the moment everyone in the Assembly has been waiting for, the Budget
Address. The motion both announces the address and starts the budget debate.
The Budget Address outlines the government's financial plans rather than detailing all income
and expenses. The Treasurer may begin by painting a broad picture of the economic outlook
for the year and then list various strategies the government plans to use to bring in revenue
and save money. In Alberta, that usually means talking about natural resources, taxes,
agriculture, inflation, interest payments, transfer payments from the federal government, new
industries, services, and so on. The Treasurer's speech is part of a document
published by Treasury that also includes charts and tables
projecting income and spending for each of the province's funds; for example, the general revenue fund, the capital fund, and the
Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Treasury also releases detailed spending estimates. You can
find all of these publications in the Legislature Library after the Budget
Address has been tabled.
The budget debate takes place over the next number of sitting days. The motion to approve
the government's fiscal policies traditionally does not come to a vote, so technically the
budget debate could continue for the entire session, but it gives way to the important
business of discussing the budget estimates in detail, the work of the Committee of Supply.