Alberta Tory leadership hopeful Ric McIver promises balance budget in 3 years

CALGARY – Alberta Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver says he will balance the budget in three years if he becomes the province’s next premier.

McIver told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that he would also pay down the debt and grow Alberta’s savings.

The former infrastructure minister said he would introduce a legislated fiscal plan and seek all-party consensus on how the budget is presented.

The Progressive Conservatives under former premier Alison Redford started tabling a budget that hived off day-to-day spending from overall capital expenditure.

Opponents have said that gives Albertans a rosier picture of the province’s economic bottom line than actually exists.

McIver agrees the budget needs to be less confusing.

“We can’t have a debate about what the budget does if we can’t even agree with what the budget says,” he said Tuesday.

McIver is running against fellow MLA Thomas Lukaszuk and former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice.

Prentice has said he would continue borrowing money for infrastructure, but would bring in a strict payback plan.

The leader is to be chosen by party members in September.

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)