June 14, 2017
For Immediate Release

Six Weeks After Financial Briefing, Finance Minister Still Fails to Provide Answers to Budget Questions

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said, “Weeks after the Finance Minister had officials provide an April 28 briefing to the Opposition on the 2017 Budget, the Minister of Finance has still not provided answers to the questions the Opposition raised at the meeting and reiterated in a letter to the Minister on May 5.”

“The Finance Minister claimed her Budget was transparent and the Liberal government was open. But more than six weeks after we raised questions to get some clarity on the Liberal Budget, there has been no response from the Minister to the request for information. Either the Minister doesn’t know the answers or she’s hiding the details from the people,” said Davis.

“The Opposition’s questions were fundamental questions that need to be answered – questions like: What positions were cut? What was cut in the agencies? Where were the savings? Where were the inflationary spending increases? Where was the new spending? Where was federal funding leveraged? What ‘standards’ were the health authorities using when determining where to cut?”

“How could the Minister of Finance not know the answers to these questions after spending months poring over the details of the Budget? Why will she not provide details to Budget questions?” Davis asked.

The specific questions written in the Opposition’s May 5 letter included:

  • detailed breakdown of the $6.5 million identified as savings from extended government agencies (under reduction in salary and benefits handout);
  • copy of Regional Health Authorities “Standards” referenced by Finance staff (which were used for consistency in budget decision making);
  • breakdown of $38.3 million identified as new provincial spending initiatives (under details of all other changes not categorized on slide 5 handout);
  • breakdown of the $117.5 million noted as leveraging federal funds (under details of all other changes not categorized on slide 5 handout);
  • breakdown of what is included under $69.7 million noted as annualized increases (under details of all other changes not categorized on slide 5 handout);
  • breakdown of what is included in $59.7 million noted as inflationary growth in programs (under details of all other changes not categorized on slide 5 of handout);
  • details of $25.5 million identified as “other” under deficit impacts for extended government agencies.

-30-

Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca