The Great Canadian Cooldown is over.
The Alberta government and the federal government both announced their own slowdowns Wednesday, as well as the first-ever federal budget.
In Alberta, the economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.
But in the federal budget, Alberta’s economy shrilled by 1.1 per cent.
Alberta is still in a recession.
And the province has been in a slow recession for much of the past five years.
The province had a $6.5-billion deficit in the fiscal year ending June 30.
But it now has a $4.3-billion surplus, thanks in part to the Alberta Infrastructure Investment Bank, a federal-provincial bank that was created by former prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1996.
The provincial government has also promised $1 billion in infrastructure spending over the next three years.
And in a rare move, the federal cabinet has announced a new $50-billion climate change fund.
But the big news, for the government, is that it has just released its budget for 2019.
The $40-billion budget, the first in a four-year budget cycle, is the government’s first fiscal update since 2015, when it introduced its $10-billion carbon tax.
The government is expecting to release the budget on March 24.
But unlike previous years, the budget does not include a full list of new spending commitments.
Rather, it provides a budget summary, which is used to rank all the major spending priorities, such as programs and revenue.
As of Thursday afternoon, the government had released only five spending priorities.
Among them is the $15-billion Kinder Morgan pipeline, a $15.5 billion project that will move crude from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries on the coast of British Columbia.
The other four priorities are infrastructure, research and innovation, climate change and energy efficiency.
And there’s a few more priorities that haven’t been released yet.
For example, the provincial government’s long-awaited plan to build a highway linking Toronto and Vancouver is still not in the budget.
It is due to be presented to the legislature on May 31.
Alberta’s economic performance has been slow, but not without some positives.
The jobless rate fell to 6.6 per cent last month from 7.8 per cent a year earlier.
But there are still many jobs that have yet to be created, especially in construction, retail and agriculture.
Alberta, Canada’s fourth-largest province, is also seeing more growth than other parts of the country.
Alberta was projected to add nearly 200,000 jobs last year, up from the previous year’s estimated 188,000, according the latest provincial employment report from Statistics Alberta.