Finance Minister Greg Dewar told Manitobans “There will be another budget before the next election” before launching pre-budget consultations. He would now like Manitobans to believe he never made any such commitment, saying the NDP government is “weighing our options” on bringing forward a budget.
The commitment to bring a budget forward before the election was a promise they made repeatedly going back to last spring, and Dewar repeated his as recently as Thursday. It was the justification for consultations on the single most important activity of government. The budget is what determines how the province runs – it outlines priorities and also shows how the NDP manage finances so we might be able to afford meaningful and effective improvements in front line services.
“Dewar claims to seek input from trusting Manitobans for a budget the NDP now admits it has little intention of bringing forward before the next election,” said PC finance critic Cam Friesen. “It is clear the pre-budget consultations currently underway at taxpayer expense are nothing but a partisan façade aimed at deceiving Manitobans the NDP has any intention of listening.”
Selinger’s NDP is desperate to hide the truth of their fiscal record. Earlier this week on the last possible day required by law it was revealed the Selinger NDP had close to a $500 million deficit for fiscal 2014/15 – nearly $100 million more than originally predicted. This situation is more deplorable in light of the fact revenues were up by $500 million.
“This is simple math. The NDP took in $500 million more and we’re still $500 million in the hole for one year,” Friesen added. “And what did we get? Worst wait times in ERs in Canada, more doctors leaving than any other province, and a child welfare system that’s a national disgrace - spend more, get less.”
Earlier this year Manitoba received its first credit rating downgrade in 30 years. When spending’s out of control, tax increases can’t be far behind. It begs the question: did the finance minister misspeak in the spring and on Thursday, or has he received new instructions from a premier who cares more about keeping his job than how the province is being run.