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Address and Debate

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.


Reproduced from the Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature with permission from the Legislative Assembly Office.
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