New Brunswick

'Turn in tone' possible as Gallant government brings in 3rd budget

As the Gallant government moves into the back half of its mandate with its third budget on Tuesday, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says New Brunswickers can expect to see the province's attention directed toward the priorities of residents.

Cathy Rogers says budget's priorities will align with citizens' priorities of health care, jobs, education

Finance Minister Cathy Rogers delivers her first budget for the Gallant government on Tuesday. (CBC)

As the Gallant government moves into the back half of its mandate with its third budget at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says New Brunswickers can expect to see the province's attention directed toward the priorities of residents.

And the "missed opportunity" of the tourism sector also will get some attention, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers hinted on Monday.

"Tourism has been an opportunity that has been missed for several years," said Rogers. "This remains high on our list as well, which is why it is nice to be out here in Odell Park [in Fredericton]."

Tourism has been an opportunity that has been missed for several years.- Cathy Rogers, finance minister

In her capital budget in December, Rogers committed $12.6 million to the tourism sector and said it was a record amount.

Rogers said New Brunswickers have clearly told government that their priorities are health care, education and jobs and she said Monday the government has heard that message.

"I'm looking forward to sharing with New Brunswickers that we are indeed listening and that we will be committed, and remain committed, to the priorities that New Brunswickers identified to us."

Kinder, gentler government?

Some may call it a kinder, gentler Liberal government after its first two budgets focused on deficit reduction and finding efficiencies in government.

J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, says that because of what seems a perpetual election cycle, the government of Premier Brian Gallant may change its tone after two tough budgets. (CBC)
A "turn in tone" in the budget wouldn't surprise J.P. Lewis, a political science professor at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.

"Since we are starting the stretch run toward the next provincial election, we may see a turn in tone in terms of the items they can definitely start to campaign on," said Lewis.

"I realize it's far away out, but we're used to governments and parties across the country in this permanent campaign mode, especially after their first two budgets being … described as relatively tough-news budgets," he said.

"I'm not necessarily saying there won't be tough news [Tuesday] but we might get a sense more of their direction heading toward the 2018 fall election."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan White is a Fredericton native who has been working as a journalist since 1981, mostly in New Brunswick. He joined CBC in 2003 and is now a senior producer. He can be reached at alan.white@cbc.ca

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