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EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta’s finance minister Steve West says his province is poised to cut its accumulated debt by $5.6 billion thanks to the booming oil and gas industry.

In his third-quarter budget update, West announced the surplus is now estimated at a colossal $7.3 billion, up from the March estimates of only $713 million. The payment against the debt represents about half of Alberta’s total accumulated debt.

Alberta’s Conservative government is expected to announce as early as next week that there will be provincial election held sometime in March.

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