Premier Alison Redford addressed the province on Thursday night and painted a bleak picture for Alberta’s finances in the coming year.

She blames the oil price differential for the $6B shortfall in revenue we’re facing and suggested we’ll need to tighten our belt when it comes to spending.

“We have to put Alberta’s finances on a more stable footing.”

Redford cautioned Albertans to brace themselves for cuts in some services and programs and promised she will still go ahead with some spending.

“It’s not good enough to simply take an axe to government spending across the board; that would mean that vulnerable Albertans get hit the hardest, and it’s not good enough to take the easy way out and raise taxes.”

She promised that there will be a summit held next month to come up with solutions on how to solve the deficit problem.

Opposition leader Danielle Smith says that Redford’s opening of a discussion with Albertans wasn’t a start at all.

Smith says she wanted to get an idea of what the Premier was planning to do about the issue.

“Instead, we got a promise of a conversation to start another conversation. She’s promising to hold the line on spending, to not raise taxes, and she was absolutely silent on the issue of debt.”

She also says that the lagging prices of Alberta oil on world markets is nothing new and the Tories should have seen it coming.

“It doesn’t do any good to talk about how we might have pipelines four or five or six years from now. What is the plan over the next three or four or five years to get us accustomed to this new reality of lower energy prices and lower revenues?”

The choices to solve the issue are few.

“You can cut spending radically, you can borrow money, or you can increase taxes,” says Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University.

Williams says that Redford didn’t address the borrowing issue at all in her address and that may lead to what the Tories have planned.

“Perhaps she’s laying the foundation for building support for that down the road.”