Alberta Premier Warns Of $20-Billion Budget Deficit

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney went on television Tuesday night to warn people in his province of difficult financial times ahead.

Kenney said the coronavirus pandemic and collapse in oil prices represent the “greatest challenge in the province’s modern history,” and warned that Alberta’s budget deficit this year will likely triple to $20 billion. "I cannot overstate how grave the implications of this will be for jobs, the economy and the financial security of Albertans," Kenney said in his televised address to the province.

Kenney also said that Alberta won’t be able to relax its social-distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus until the end of May. Once the province does start to relax those measures, it will mimic other jurisdictions like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea that have managed to both contain the virus while keeping their economies functioning.

That will include aggressive mass testing to identify positive cases, precise targeting of close contacts, border screening, strict enforcement of quarantine orders and encouraging the use of masks in crowded public spaces, he said.

Kenney used his address to also update coronavirus infections in Alberta. He said under the "probable scenario," Alberta will see as many as 800,000 infections and as many as 3,000 deaths.

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