N.L. budget passes as Liberal minority government survives its first confidence vote
Budget could be passed in the House of Assembly by Wednesday evening
Newfoundland and Labrador's minority Liberal government survived its first confidence vote Wednesday as members passed the provincial budget.
It's the first budget ever passed by a minority government in the province's post-Confederation history.
A motion to approve the government's general budgetary policy passed in the morning with a vote of 23 to 14 in the House of Assembly.
The Progressive Conservative caucus voted against the motion, criticizing the Liberals for ignoring the party's suggestions.
The budget signifies the first major hurdle overcome by Premier Dwight Ball's minority government.
The May 16 general election saw voters re-elect Ball's Liberals with one seat shy of the 21 needed for a majority, a rare departure for a province that typically elects majority governments.
The budget motion was supported by the NDP's caucus of three and by one independent member, Paul Lane, who said he voted for the budget to avoid another election.
'Flawed' budget: PCs
In a media release sent out early Wednesday afternoon, PC Leader Ches Crosbie said his party could not vote in support of a "flawed" budget that "the Ball Liberals stubbornly refused to amend even though the electorate has called for changes."
However, the PCs voted against the Liberal budget "knowing that the minority government had enough votes to pass the budget and remain in office."
Earlier in the month, Crosbie had proposed some recommendations that he wanted to see in the budget, including insulin pumps for all people with Type 1 Diabetes, regardless of age, and bus transportation for school kids who live closer than 1.6 kilometres to a school, which is the current threshold.
However, Finance Minister Tom Osborne at the time wasn't seemingly enthusiastic with the suggestions.
"I want to work with him. Those ideas are not new ideas — they are good ideas, they are ideas that we as a caucus and a cabinet have talked about over the past three years. But we need to see from Mr. Crosbie where he feels we can recoup the money that is going to cost to put these ideas in place," said Osborne.
With files from The Canadian Press