Alberta budget 2015: No new shoes for Finance Minister Joe Ceci
Father's work boots a symbol of NDP government's first budget
Joe Ceci is eschewing the old finance minister tradition of wearing new shoes when he tables the Alberta NDP government's first budget Tuesday.
While he won't have them on his feet during his speech, the Calgary-Fort MLA will use a pair of work boots belonging to his late father — a Toronto home builder — to symbolize his spending priorities.
Ceci told media at a pre-budget photo op Monday that it didn't feel right to buy new shoes for the budget.
"What did feel right is thinking about where I come from, who I am," he said.
"My dad worked hard all his life. He cared for his family," he added, placing his hand on the worn, leather work boots.
"I think that's what this budget is going to do. It's going to repair public services, ensure people aren't left in the lurch when times are bad, and it's going to obviously do a lot of construction."
The budget will be tabled as the price of oil sat at about $44 a barrel mid-day Monday. Alberta relies on resource royalties for much of its revenue, and slumping oil prices are costing the province billions in annual revenue.
Ceci has already signaled the deficit will be about $6 billion.
Last week, he said an election promise to balance the budget by 2018-2019 would have to be delayed one year.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the Alberta government is in danger of losing its triple-A credit rating if it continues to borrow.
When asked if he shared Jean's concerns, Ceci said governments should run deficits when times are tough and have surpluses when the economy improves.
He plans to meet with bond rating agencies in Toronto to assure them about Alberta's plan.
Prepping for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abbudget?src=hash">#abbudget</a> & remembering Dad: home builder/family man.No new shoes, just his boots to guide me. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ableg?src=hash">#ableg</a> <a href="https://t.co/zirMj2t7nq">pic.twitter.com/zirMj2t7nq</a>—@joececiyyc