Wednesday is budget day for the provincial government and finance minister Ken Krawetz says money has been tight, but people can expect a balanced set of books.
On Tuesday, Krawetz illustrated the point by squeezing into a new pair of shoes using a shoehorn.
"This year is the first year that I've actually purchased a brand new pair of shoes [for budget day]," Krawetz said, referring to a political tradition that has finance ministers getting new shoes in advance of a budget.
He said government has made some difficult spending choices, due to decreased resource revenues.
"When you look at the pressures of infrastructure and the pressures of additional program utilization in things like health care — those put significant financial pressures on the treasury and it's up to us to deal with them," he said.
Keeping with the theme of shoes, the opposition NDP's finance critic, Trent Wotherspoon, pulled out a pair of tap shoes as a visual prop.
"We thought we'd appropriately get some tap dancing shoes for our minister here this year," Wotherspoon said, adding he was hoping the budget would focus on substance instead of what he called "the same old song and dance".
Wotherspoon added he will be keeping an eye on provincial spending in education.
"There's tremendous strain on students and our classrooms," Wotherspoon said. "We have students that are learning inside hallways right now, we have class sizes that are growing in ways that don't support student learning, we've had 350 educational assistants that have been cut."
The provincial budget will be released shortly after 2 p.m. CST.
CBC News will have live coverage of the budget on radio and online.
Five things that have been worn as new footwear by finance ministers on budget day:
- Sandals (PEI, 2002).
- Hiking boots (New Brunswick, 2002).
- Running shoes (B.C., 2005).
- Mukluks (Canada, 1979).
- Inline skates (Alberta, when Stockwell Day was provincial treasurer).