It's an interesting point: the province's largest public sector union has launched an advertising campaign asking why the provincial government is threatening job cuts and restraint, while at the same time spending almost every waking moment trumpeting the province's "white-hot" economy.
It's a good question, because the government is certainly doing that: speeches by cabinet ministers are so liberally sprinkled with "white-hot economy" that it seems like the government is trying to implant the buzzwords in our heads. And if the future's so darned bright, why on Earth would they also be talking about cutbacks?
There are a couple of possible explanations. First is that the government is simply talking out of both sides of its mouth, trying to lessen the expectations of unions it's been negotiating with for over a year. That's the position the unions clearly believe is the case.
Second, more sinisterly, the "white-hot economy" is something of a fictional construct.
Or third, the status of our relatively small provincial economy and our actual finances aren't really connected.
In other words, even if the local economy was exploding, it wouldn't mean the province was doing that well overall.
And that's probably closer to the truth.
Here's a rather fractured explanation of that option, courtesy of a recent speech by Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O'Brien: "When you've got a white-hot economy, it doesn't mean that your provincial government shares in that economy. The simple reason is that our revenue streams are down as compared to the capital side and the business side of the economy. You can't compare the two. A lot of people compare a white-hot economy to a rich government."
OK, here's a translation: in our case, a white-hot economy, if such a thing exists, doesn't really have much to do with whether or not we can afford the public services we have.
Why? Because in reality, the province's finances depend on one single thing: high-priced oil, and lots of it being produced. Oilfields are declining and prices have not held up, something that creates big worries for a provincial government that, in recent years, has depended on oilfield dollars for as much as one out of every three dollars of provincial revenue.
It has depended on those oilfield dollars, and it has had a huge hand in creating the so-called "white-hotness" by dumping huge amounts into capital and infrastructure spending - meaning that a dip in oil money is a double-edged sword.
Not only does the province not have the coin it needs for basic services, but any withdrawal from stoking the putative "white-hot" furnace with petrodollars will bring about a resulting dip in the economy.
The government clearly feels it needs to pump up the "white-hot economy" concept to keep people spending in this province, a sort of Hail Mary pass to try and keep non-oil revenues chugging along while oil dollars are drying up.
But does the government have the dollars to keep spending the way it has been?
The answer to that is clearly a white-hot "no."