Why do we advocate for fiscal responsibility?

Member of Legislative Assembly Report

Tany Yao, MLA of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

Tany YaoThere are several core principles that unite all conservatives.

We believe in individual rights, not group rights. We believe all people are equal under the law; we all have freedom of conscience, expression, religion, and association, etc.

We also believe in equality of opportunity. We believe competition strengthens all people, and that all people must be eligible to compete on equal terms.

A third such principle is our commitment to fiscal responsibility. We believe that all elected officials are responsible for providing faithful and prudent stewardship of the public purse. We seek to limit deficits during tough times, pay down debt during good times, and generally live within our means.

How we plan to do so is often the subject of public debate, as it should be. The public is right to demand details when it comes to how government manages taxpayers’ dollars. However, our duty goes beyond explaining details. In a day and age when obtaining credit has never been easier, it is vital for us to explain why fiscal responsibility is important in the first place.

First, we know that structural deficits and debt act as a drag on our economy. Alberta is currently on pace to borrow almost $50 billion by the end of the Notley administration’s first term in office. The more we borrow, and the longer we take to pay it back, the lower our credit rating becomes. As our credit is downgraded, borrowing becomes more expensive.

Raising taxes to cover these costs makes our province less and less competitive, which further erodes business confidence. If our goal is long-term job creation and economic growth, taking on reams of debt is the wrong approach.

The second reason we promote fiscal responsibility is because a larger government inevitably leads to wasteful spending. For evidence of this, we need look no further than the massive pay packages, bonuses, and transition allowances awarded to top Alberta Health Services officials by the previous government. This type of gratuitous waste is unconscionable, especially when sick and injured Albertans face unacceptably long wait times, every day, across our province.

The third, and perhaps most important, reason we promote fiscal responsibility is because we care about future generations. We oppose saddling future generations with unnecessary debt, because we know debt will limit their opportunities for further progress. A larger debt means less money will be available for key programs like health and education, while limiting debt affords our children a greater chance to seize future opportunities.

We advocate fiscal responsibility for the same reason that we believe in individual rights and equality of opportunity: these core conservative principles allow us to reach our potential, and will allow the next generation to achieve even more.

Controlling spending, eliminating waste, and balancing budgets are all worthy objectives, and we believe Alberta is up to the task.

Tany Yao is the Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Yao can be reached by email at fortmcmurray.woodbuffalo@assembly.ab.ca or by phone at 780-790-6014.

-Connect Weekly-