British Columbia·B.C. BUDGET

Mike de Jong's resoled shoes and other B.C. budget fashion trends

British Columbia's Finance Minister Mike de Jong is once again bucking the budget day tradition of buying a new pair of shoes.

B.C. could be the only province to have a surplus this year, says de Jong

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong picked up his resoled shoes on Monday morning at the Old Towne Shoe Repair in Victoria. (Richard Zussman)

British Columbia's Finance Minister Mike de Jong is once again bucking the budget day tradition of buying a new pair of shoes.

Instead the minister chose to resole the same old black dress shoes he has worn for the last two provincial budgets.

"You did a good job bringing some new life to those shoes," said de Jong on Monday morning after picking up his old shoes from Old Towne Shoe Repair in Victoria.

Canada's finance ministers have long used their new shoes as a way to hint at the surprises their budgets might hold. 

Former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor shows reporters her new green Fluevogs in 2008, signaling her budget would likely include environmental measures. ((CBC))

In 2013, de Jong wore hockey skates, while former B.C. finance minister Colin Hansen once wore running shoes.

Former finance minister Carole Taylor sported a $600 pair of new Gucci pumps in 2006, saying she was investing for the long term.

The following year Taylor chose some resoled red pumps. Then in 2008, she sported some locally made pumps from Vancouver shoemaker John Fluevog.

Surplus higher than $444 million?

De Jong has already revealed plans to balance the province's books for the third year in a row.

But, he says, this budget is something special, because B.C. will likely be the only province in Canada to table a balanced budget.

"Something that virtually no other province will see, which is a balanced budget, a healthy surplus for 2014/15 and a surplus in all three years after," he said on Monday in Victoria.

He said this year's budget will include a surplus higher than the $444 million forecast last fall, but future projections call for smaller surpluses for the next three years.

De Jong has hinted the budget will have a few "goodies" for some, but has already ruled out changes to the minimum wage or spending increases outside of health care.

He says the budget will include some changes to social services funding and the removal of a two-year tax on high-income earners.

"With the little bit of room the surpluses create for us, [there will be] some changes that assist, I think, lower-income British Columbians, in a variety of ways," he said.

More details on the budget will be revealed when de Jong rises to speak tomorrow in the B.C. Legislature. CBC will broadcast the budget speech live starting at 2 p.m. PT on Tuesday.    

In 2012, then finance minister Jim Flaherty shopped for traditional budget shoes in Ottawa before delivering a much anticipated federal spending blueprint. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)



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