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Alberta finance minister reacts to federal budget

Last Updated Apr 20, 2021 at 12:26 pm MDT

Alberta Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, Travis Toews delivers the 2021 budget in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday February 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Alberta’s finance minister said the government is pleased to see investments in carbon capture and storage technology in the federal budget.

But Travis Toews said the province has significant concerns about the details, specifically the exclusion of enhanced oil recovery projects with a net-zero carbon profile.

The federal Liberal government said it will soon begin consultations on designing a tax credit for capital spent on carbon capture and storage technology in hopes of increasing how many million tonnes Canada traps annually.

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Toews notes the Alberta government is also “gravely disappointed” that Ottawa is not retroactively lifting the cap on the fiscal stabilization program.

The Liberal’s budget, released Monday, estimates all the spending should create or maintain some 330,000 jobs next year and add about two percentage points to economic growth.

The largest contributor is $30 billion over five years on top of existing planned child-care spending to drive down fees in licensed daycares and eventually get to $10 a day by 2026.

There is also more money for broadband infrastructure and over $1.6 billion in funding for small and medium-sized businesses to make sure they aren’t left behind by the dash to online shopping.

All that extra spending with few new taxes will send the deficit to $154.7 billion this fiscal year, one year after a record-smashing $354.2 billion deficit induced by the pandemic.

But first, the Liberals plan to keep open the taps of emergency aid until at least the fall as the labour market and businesses continue to struggle under the weight of COVID-19.