Premier Ball Supports Empty Platitudes

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21, 2016


For Immediate Release




Premier Ball Supports Empty Platitudes from Canadian Finance Minister Morneau


Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, "It is absolutely unacceptable that the Ball Liberals weren't able to get anything but platitudes from federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau on his recent visit to Newfoundland and Labrador."




Hutchings said, "Ottawa has a constitutional obligation under subsection 36(2) to provide equalization whenever a province has insufficient revenue to provide ‘reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.’ That's an obligation they cannot avoid."




"Newfoundlanders and Labradorians‎' taxes and fees are among the highest rates in Canada, thanks to the Liberals’ 2016 Budget. Instead of publically making the case of Canada’s responsibility to ensure 'reasonably comparable levels of taxation' to the federal minister and advocating for access to federal programs to assist in providing 'reasonably comparable levels of public services' for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the Premier refuses to make the case on behalf of our people," said Hutchings. "The Ball Liberals appear to have a callous disregard for the impact of all those tax increases on our people and on our economy."




The Official Opposition has questioned the Premier repeatedly on what he is doing to secure new federal assistance. When asked about getting Ottawa to step up, the Premier said on March 10: 'When we get into March 22 and the [federal] budget, of course, there will be things for Newfoundland and Labrador that will be included in that. The doors in Ottawa right now are certainly open. There has been lots of engagement and lots of very productive meetings will occur. It usually starts with very productive meetings.' When asked about equalization and federal relief on April 18, the Premier said: 'I can assure you we are working with our federal colleagues.'




‎Hutchings said, "To date, all we've received is permission to kick an overpayment bill down the road (which was supposedly negotiated during the provincial Budget process but not announced until May) and a paltry $32 million in stabilization funding under longstanding federal legislation that kicks in when any province's revenues drop significantly in a given year – but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.7 billion that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba are getting this year because their revenues are too low to keep taxes from ballooning. Where's the help to protect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from unreasonable tax increases?" he asked.




"We had the Canadian Finance Minister in our province and Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered nothing but empty platitudes such as ‘you’re really not alone' – and the Premier simply let him walk away without any discussion on tangible help our people need to cope with the extraordinary burden they’re bearing. What a wasted opportunity," said Hutchings.








Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105,


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