Brian Gallant

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said if he is elected, there would be a program review to identify $250 million worth of budget cuts. (Radio-Canada)

The New Brunswick Liberals say they have a plan to cut provincial spending that has been endorsed by a big-name party member with a reputation for fiscal acumen.

Former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke Tuesday in favour of Brian Gallant's plan to slash $250 million from the New Brunswick government budget in the second year of a Liberal mandate.

The cuts would be identified by a strategic program review, said Gallant, with a focus on eliminating waste and creating jobs.

He contrasted that to across-the-board spending reductions implemented by the Progressive Conservative government of David Alward.

As federal finance minister, Martin slashed spending by almost nine per cent over two years.

Paul Martin

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin endorsed Brian Gallant's plan to cut $250 million from the provincial budget in the second year of a New Brunswick Liberal government mandate. (CBC)

"Program review played a strategic role in the elimination of our deficit in the 1990s,” said Martin.

"I am pleased to endorse Mr. Gallant’s decision to use this proven method to resolve New Brunswick’s fiscal issues," he said.

Gallant's target represents about three per cent of total spending by the New Brunswick government.

Martin said the situation in the province isn't as urgent as what he faced in the nineties.

"He doesn't have to basically do it all in two to three years. What he does have to do is set very clear targets that give everybody confidence that he will achieve them," said Martin.

"And if he does that, and he keeps his eye on the whole ball of economic growth, then his cuts will work," he said.

The provincial election campaign officially gets underway Thursday.