Federal budget silent: soft approach

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(709) 753-6043


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23, 2016


For Immediate Release


Federal Budget Silent on Help for NL Resource Revenue Shortfall:


Premier Ball’s Lack of Action and Soft Approach Not Working


Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “Premier Ball’s unwillingness to lobby the federal government for special recognition or a fair share of relief through the Stabilization Fund or other avenues is disappointing but not unexpected. Premier Ball’s lack of action will force greater levels of cuts to programs and services in our province.”


The fundamental principle of equalization is to ensure that all Canadians receive reasonably comparable provincial services at comparable rates of taxation. This principle will be challenged for three provinces hit hardest by the global oil price decline – Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Speaking after the Budget last night, Saskatchewan’s Premier Brad Wall said, 'We were looking for some special recognition for Saskatchewan, and not just our province, but for Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador — those provinces that have been hit hard by the energy sector downturn. There does not seem to be that special recognition.’ http://www.cbc.ca/1.3502955


The PC Official Opposition has been asking for months what actions the Premier has taken to elevate this issue in light of the downturn in natural resource revenue. The question was answered on CBC Here & Now on March 21, when the province’s federal Cabinet representative, Judy Foote, was asked if the Ball government attempted to get the fiscal stabilization fund revamped so our province could get more than the $31.7 million allotted. She said; ‘It certainly hasn’t been under discussion with me.’ http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2685678173


Federal budget documents show that, while the total amount being provided under equalization and stabilization Canada-wide this year is approximately $18 billion, our province will receive only $31.7 million. The projected shortfall in our revenues for this fiscal year due to the oil price drop is $870 million with a deficit of approximately $2 billion. http://www.budget.gc.ca/2016/docs/plan/budget2016-en.pdf


Hutchings said, “We were not even considered for more resource revenue relief funding because the Ball government failed to advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Ball government has now brought the first of two bills to the legislature to increase the province’s borrowing by enormous amounts to make up for the federal relief that the Ball government has failed to work for.”




Media Contact:


Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca


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