Provincial budget consult

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The deadline for public survey feedback on the provincial budget is tomorrow (Feb. 9) for a 2018 flagged by the NDP as the year to “make responsible choices to lower the deficit and put Albertans back on the path of balance.”

“Albertans and us want to see a path to balance in the budget and in order to do that we are going to have to make some difficult decisions,” said Banff-Cochrane NDP MLA Cam Westhead, adding that it’s too preliminary to speculate on what the 2018 budget could reveal and could not speak to possible cutback areas.

Westhead said one of the main concerns he is hearing from Cochrane constituents is a call for expanded affordable childcare.

Last year, the NDP piloted its universal childcare program to 22 facilities for a total of 1,200 spaces. The cost to families that took part was $25 per day regardless of income.

This year, Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee announced an expansion of the program to include 78 more centres and 4,500 new placement spots.

Westhead said he is also hearing from constituents that they would like to see a 24-hour health care facility and increased funding for infrastructure and capital costs to get new schools built to accommodate the growth in the Rocky View Schools region.

The 2017 budget was touted as one that would make life more affordable, create jobs and building a diversified economy while protecting and improving service and delivery.

The deficit of around $10 billion last year is anticipated by the NDP to rebound this year, with reports that the economy is on an upswing.

Albertans who would like to have their comments heard are encouraged to do so online or by calling in to 1-877-229-8493, enter ID code 115500.

To fill out the online survey or to learn more visit alberta.ca/budget-consultations.aspx.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.