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Alberta situation goes from bad to worse

The Alberta government's bottom line continues to bleed red ink and the province is planning job cuts and a wage freeze for civil-service managers to try to stem the flow.

Tory Finance Minister Doug Horner announced plans Tuesday for a three-year management salary freeze. It is to begin April 1 and is expected to save taxpayers $54 million.

The government is also reducing the number of public-sector managers by 10 per cent, or about 480 positions, over that same time period, he said. While some positions are vacant and won't be filled, there will be some people who lose their jobs.

He blamed falling oil and gas revenue. Premier Alison Redford has coined the term bitumen bubble to refer to the difference between the benchmark prices for oil in North America and the lower price Alberta receives for its land-locked oilsands bitumen.

In the first nine months of the 2012-13 fiscal year, Horner said resource revenue was $2.4 billion lower than expected.

"The government is taking decisive, aggressive and immediate action to help address this revenue shortfall," Horner said as he released the province's third-quarter fiscal update.

"We can't control world market prices but we can make decisions that will make an impact on our bottom.

The Canadian Press


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