The 2020 provincial budget will pass with support from the Progressive Conservatives and potentially the New Democratic Party.
“The most important number in the budget is 13,000. That’s the number of job losses the government expects in the coming months,” said PC Leader Ches Crosbie.
“That’s on top of all the other job losses we’ve had until now. The rest of the numbers are not good looking — in fact they’re ugly — but that number, 13,000 job losses, is the one that most families that most families in this province can relate to.”
That said, Crosbie says the people don’t want an election right now, so his party will vote in favour of the new budget document.
“People in Newfoundland and Labrador are looking for some sense of health security and financial stability right now,” said Crosbie.
“This is not the time to be upsetting apple carts or worrying people more than they’re already worried. That’s why we’re going to support this budget. This is not the time for a general election. This is a time for stability.”
New Democratic Party Leader Alison Coffin says, on its face, the budget appears to be one her party can support.
“There doesn’t seem to be any poison pills in there,” she said.
“Once we start parsing it out a little bit, if we do find something like that — on its face, it looks reasonable. They said there was no surprises and we weren’t disappointed.”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with the budget, according to Coffin.
“This is not a pandemic budget. Next budget will be the pandemic budget,” she said.
“This budget is a map of last year’s budget, with a couple of little things thrown in. The federal government had some programs, we had the $200 million contingency fund. That seems to be the extent of our planning for the pandemic. Beyond that, we’ve appointed someone who’s living in a different country to a taskforce to determine how we’re going to find efficiencies and make cuts and balance our fiscal issues. Next year will be the pandemic budget.”