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Members Statement - Mr.

Dave Quest, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park March 20, 2013

For the last week and a half we have listened to the opposition complain about this years estimates schedule. In somewhat typical fashion the opposition says the sky is falling, cries wolf, democracy as we know it is dead, etc. They act as though they are somehow victims of the estimates schedule and that government has limited their ability to participate. The facts, of course are different and speak for themselves. Budget 2013 represents our commitment to being prudent and responsible in building for the future and not pursuing an extreme ideological agenda stuck in the past. Budget 2013 will continue to be our focus this session and Im proud to tell Albertans that this spring session provides more opportunity, not less, to examine the

fiscal plan to ensure that Albertans get value for their tax dollars. This year we have 10 days and 70 hours dedicated to review estimates for 18 ministries. This is significantly more than last year, when we spent 9 days and 63 hours on estimates for 21 departments. Last year estimates consideration started 5 days after the budget this year 11 full days to prepare before estimates commenced! In previous years opposition also complained that all Ministries, large or small were in committee for three hours. This year we will spend six hours on seven of the larger ministries. Last year, estimates occurred over a period of 28 days and this year estimates will be reviewed over a longer period of 49 days.

In past years opposition has complained about time to prepare, to understand the estimates, and that their resources are stretched. Well Mr Speaker, weve cleared the deck so that Members have only the fiscal agenda to deal with. No other committee work, no unrelated legislation to review. Total focus and attention on the budget. Mr. Speaker, Albertans expect our government to focus on Budget 2013, to build Alberta, to live within our means and to open new markets for Albertas resources. We are doing just that! Albertans can be assured that democracy lives and Albertans are well served by their government!