Nfld. & Labrador

Liberals, NDP singing different tunes on finance plans amid economic downturn

The province's two opposition parties are saying different things about what a plunging economy means for Newfoundland and Labrador's finances.
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy, left, and Liberal Leader Dwight Ball have different plans to address the province's finances amid an economic downturn. (CBC)

The province's two opposition parties are saying different things about what a plunging economy means for Newfoundland and Labrador's finances.

Earlier this week, economist Wade Locke predicted an economic slowdown in China would have a domino effect on this province, which could mean a lower standard of living.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says despite the latest economic developments, he's standing by his plans to increase government spending.

Ball has highlighted a promise to scrap an HST increase introduced by the Tories, and he plans to move forward on plans for a new psychiatric hospital.

While he agrees the latest projections spell out less oil revenue, Ball said he plans to address that in a different way.

"There will be no cuts. What we're talking about right now is creating new ways to generate new revenue in our province," he said.

"Davis says, 'Hold on, let me manage our way through this.' He talks about a five-year plan when he could not even get the first five months right, let alone trust him to get the next five years right."

Tories 'fiddled all summer'

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Earle McCurdy said he can't promise avoiding cuts amid the latest forecasts.

"All options are going to have to be considered I guess, from both the revenue and the expenditure side, to make the best of a challenging situation," said McCurdy.

According to McCurdy, the impact could have been different if the province's finances had been handled differently.

"It's too bad that in the prosperous times the government kind of, like the grasshopper, fiddled all summer, without taking account for the inevitability of fall and winter coming."

Moving into a formal provincial election process means all parties will have to present plans with specific figures attached that show what oil prices spell out for the province's finances.

With files from Peter Cowan

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