For a few years, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) was able to put away its mobile debt clock.
Now, though, it's back on tour and is focusing on the debt being accumulated by the Alberta Government.
Colin Craig, CTF's Alberta Director, says right now Alberta's debt is increasing faster than any other province in Canada and works out to about $10,435 per Albertan. In fact, CTF claims it continues to rise $344 per second or $1,243,498 per hour.
After a morning stop in Canmore, the debt clock was here in Cochrane for a few hours on July 11 as part of a 20-community tour that started in Calgary on July 5. The tour will include visits to Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Red Deer and has already been to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
"Since arriving in Cochrane, we've already seen cars drive by and stop and stare. They can't believe how quickly the debt is going up," says Craig. "The one big benefits of this type of prop is that it really drives home what is going on with the province's finances."
The also gave advance notice to their local members and invited them to see the clock, take photos and share them on social media.
"We've done this many times over the years to show government debt increasing across the political spectrum, whether it was debt that was going up under the federal government when Stephen Harper was in office or here in Alberta under the NDP party. It doesn't matter what party, we always try to educate the public about the debt increasing."
The Alberta debt is now $42.4 billion, up from $11.9 billion just before the last election. CTF says they expect it to hit $53.3 billion by Mar. 31, 2019 and estimate it could amount to $96 billion by 2023 without factoring in the cost of the Olympics should it occur in Calgary.
"Here we are today about three years later and they have already tripled it and by the time we get to next year, they'll have quadrupled the debt in one term in office. It's increasing at an unsustainable rate. We don't care about the name of the party that's doing it, we just want to see it stopped."
He says the British Columbia government, in contrast, has a half million more people than Alberta and spend less.
"So we know it's possible to provide health care, education and other services that the provincial government does, but the problem is our government is not very cost effective in their service delivery and If they could be more cost effective we could stop this debt load."
For almost 30 years, CTF has been bringing government waste and debt to the attention of Canadians. The debt clock is just one of those methods and for a short time, they were able to put it away.
"We had to retire it, we put it away in a barn for many years because the debt was going down under the former Martin and Chretien governments and the early years of the Stephen Harper government. Then, unfortunately, the federal debt rebounded and started to go up and we had to start a new debt clock. Now we have been using it on the provincial level.