Redford says budget won't change, despite low oil prices

Despite low oil prices and a forecast deficit that could hit $3 billion, Alberta Premier Alison Redford says the government spending plan will not change.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford's government forecasting a deficit of up to $3B

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says spending plans to support teachers and doctors, education and health care will not change. (CBC)

Despite low oil prices and a forecast deficit that could hit $3 billion, Alberta Premier Alison Redford says her government’s spending plan won't change.

World oil prices dropped to about $86 a barrel on Wednesday — well below the $99 forecast in this year's provincial budget. 

The volatile prices have already forced the government to cap spending and look for more in-year savings to balance spending plans.

The province is forecasting a deficit between $2.3 and $3 billion this year, but Redford said Albertans know the government challenge is always to manage energy revenues, which can fluctuate substantially in any year.

"We put a budget in place and we're continuing to support services. Of course, we'll be preparing a new budget for next year and we're carrying on with respect to our capital spending and plan," she said.

"What we'll continue to do is to meet the priorities of Albertans, and that is to ensure that we're providing services, that we're supporting teachers and doctors, education and health care."

Redford said volatile prices are not a new challenge.

"That's a discussion we always have in Alberta and it could very easily be there, it could very easily be $100. What we've done is we've set a plan in place, we've set priorities and we're going to deliver on those priorities."

The premier said her government still intends to present a balanced budget next spring.