Premier Rachel Notley says the future is “bright but challenging” for Alberta.
Those were part of her opening remarks at a State of the Province address at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary.
She began by paying tribute to former Premier Jim Prentice, who passed away in a plane crash near Kelowna last week which also killed three other people.
Then she turned her attention to the economy, saying that times are tough, but her government will handle things differently than past P-C governments.
That means no cuts to health or education.
However, she also stressed that public-sector budgets are at their limit and everyone must learn to do more with what they have.
Notley also talked about her plan to phase out coal-fired electricity and promote renewable energy.
She says more details will be released later this fall.
Notley says the program will include providing financial help to coal emitters to close their plants and transition to cleaner forms of power.
Notley’s government has promised to end coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.
The speech didn’t sit well with opposition parties.
Wildrose MLA Leela Aheer says there was a lot of talk about what the government is doing and says it doesn’t touch on the reality of what’s going on in the province with the number of layoffs that are occurring.
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark says Notley’s speech was an attempt to polarize Albertans and divide them even farther apart.
He says Notley is telling Albertans the only choice they have is massive debt and deficit, or massive cutbacks to health and education and he believes that is wrong.
Clark says there is a middle way and Notley is choosing for her own political interest to create this false polarization.