03/04/2013 06:18 EST | Updated 05/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan runs ads preaching caution as 'tough' provincial budget looms

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is taking to the airwaves to caution people about the upcoming provincial budget.

Two radio commercials have started airing in which Premier Brad Wall talks about "growing deficits and crushing debt" in other provinces and countries. He talks about trying to balance the books in Saskatchewan.

"This year, we'll need to control government spending again and that means some difficult choices," Wall says in one ad.

"We need to make tough budget choices to stay on the path of balanced growth, to meet the challenges of a growing Saskatchewan," he says in the second ad.

The commercials started airing Monday, the same day the spring sitting of the legislature got underway.

Finance Minister Ken Krawetz says ads, costing $92,000, and were paid for by Saskatchewan Party members of the legislature.

"It's a matter of getting our information out that says there is going to be a budget, if you haven't heard, and it's not going to be a budget that's going to scare people in that respect," said Krawetz.

"It's going to be a tough budget but it's going to be balanced and it's going to address priorities."

Opposition interim NDP Leader John Nilson said Monday afternoon that he had not yet heard the ads, but questioned the underlying message.

"For them to run an ad like this ... is a sign that they're trying to soften the public up to the fact that there's going to be some bad news."

The Saskatchewan budget is scheduled to be unveiled March 20.

Wall said last week that it will be a tightened budget and the government needs to keep overall spending increases to under four per cent.

The ads also come just days before the budget in Alberta, where Premier Alison Redford has warned lean times have arrived.

While Alberta's economy remains strong, falling prices for oilsands crude are expected to halve the $13 billion in oil and gas revenue Redford's team had hoped to take in for 2013-14. Those same falling revenues have ballooned the current year's budget deficit from $886 million to $4 billion.

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner has said it will take a lot of work to even balance the day-to-day operating side of the upcoming budget.