A Calgary Journal special report compares Jim Prentice’s response to today’s bust to Don Getty’s similar response in the 1980s

Jim Prentice faces the grim reality of dropping oil prices and a growing deficit. The Alberta government looks to solve the current crisis by a mix of cutting spending and increasing revenue.  In this special report, we rewind 30 years, to examine another fiscal crisis and another conservative government’s response. In 1985, then Alberta Premier Donald Getty faced a similar situation and according to the analysts we spoke to, tried a similar fiscal recipe without much success.

Some ask — how many fiscal crises will Alberta have to go through before the government learns how to better prepare for these inevitable downturns?

In 1985, oil prices decreased by 63 per cent in eight months. The volatility forced Getty to face aPremier Jim Prentice and President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Robin Campbell answer reporters’ questions at the Legislature in Edmonton on a new committee of Alberta government ministers that will support the Budget 2015 planning process.

Photo courtesy of Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta $3.4-billion deficit. Since the beginning of the year, Prentice has been annoucing the province is expecting a $7-billion deficit due to the 55 per cent decrease in oil prices between June 2014 and February 2015.

In this special report, experts and academics find the mistakes made in the past in an attempt to decipher what could be a more useful approach today. 

drodriguez@cjournal.ca