By Megan Roth
Just how much debt does the province have? There is a clock displaying just that.
On Nov. 4, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) came to Maple Creek to show the townspeople just how much they are paying for the province’s borrowing habits by using the debt clock.
The debt clock is a giant digital clock which shows what Saskatchewan’s debt level is and how much it is increasing.
The current debt for the province is just over $5 billion, and according to the prairie director of the CTF Todd MacKay it is estimated to go up to roughly $5.7 billion by the end of the year.
“The numbers are moving pretty fast, that’s because the numbers are going up by $2.7 million every day,” MacKay said.
MacKay notes that in the past Saskatchewan has had the great habit of paying off their debt, but lately they have been borrowing more than paying off.
The Saskatchewan government plans to borrow up to $700 million this year for infrastructure.
“Our economy has been pretty strong; let’s get on top of this now before government borrowing causes problems,” MacKay said.
MacKay said that now the government should deliver on their promises of making Saskatchewan debt free because paying off the debt will become much harder if the payments become higher.
Holding a government position is not easy and MacKay knows it is hard to keep spending in line, but says that is what they have to do.
“This (the debt) isn’t government money, it’s our money,” MacKay said.
This is the first time in a long time the CTF has brought the debt clock to Saskatchewan, and MacKay would like it if it didn’t come back again any time soon.
“This is your debt, just like your credit card or mortgage is your debt that needs to be paid off,” MacKay said.
The $5.3 million in debt amounts to about $4,700 per resident.
According to MacKay, the best way to help with this issue is to call your local official and talk to them about the debt and government spending.
“We’d like people to call their officials and ask them to spend less,” MacKay said.
The debt clock is touring the province visiting 15 towns in Saskatchewan in five days.
Saskatchewan’s debt is the second lowest in the country. Prince Edward Island has the lowest at roughly $2.2 billion. The federal debt is a staggering $613 billion.