Albertans are being told to put their clicking fingers where their mouths are and build their own provincial budget.
Premier Alison Redford and her provincial Tories have come under heavy fire from critics who charge her government is proving inept at formulating a budget but a new website launched by the PCs on Wednesday aims to show taxpayers first hand the challenges the government says its facing as it formulates Alberta's next budget.
Redford announced Wednesday the government has created a website, Budgetchoice.ca, that will let Albertans take the challenge and build their own provincial budget.
Budgetchoice.ca gives Albertans the opportunity to make tough choices, including where they would focus spending priorities and revenue decisions, said Alberta Treasury Board and Finance in the official announcement.
The website offers a broad cross-section of programs and services that are housed in each government department, such as education, energy, finance and tourism, along with a cost and brief description for each program.
Those building a budget can even make it easier on themselves by choosing the price of oil.
The site then adjusts revenue and deficit within the budget depending on the cuts made.
The site uses information taken from the 2012 budget and is updated with more recent figures in order to make it as realistic as possible, the release adds.
The premier posted a link to the website on her Facebook page and Albertans were quick to offer suggestions.
"There should be an option to increase revenues," said Shannon Phillips on Facebook.
Alberta shouldn't have to cut services for areas including heath care, education and for people with disabilities she said, adding, "All of which this government is about to do because they are not bold and brave enough to make a level-headed choice about revenues."
"Where's the Give More Money to Daryl Katz option?," said Trevor Zimmerman, referring to allegations that Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz had benefited from donations he made to the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, which are currently being reviewed by an ethics commissioner.
The website comes at a time when the Redford government is in hot water for feared shortfalls in the Alberta budget, set to be released on March 7.
In a TV address last week, Redford warned of a looming $6 billion oil shortfall. She hinted about tough fiscal times and multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls.
The 2012-13 budget presented by Redford's government last spring predicted an $886-million deficit and a return to surplus budgets in 2013-14.
With files from CP