Province can't afford new Corner Brook hospital, says economist
An economist in Corner Brook says the government's latest fiscal report shows that Newfoundland and Labrador cannot afford a new hospital in the city.
Dennis Bruce says the government should defer replacing Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook and the Waterford Hospital in St. John's, until the deficit is under control.
"The blunt reality is we can't afford it right now," said Bruce.
"It's not good news, but if you're running a $2 billion deficit it gets very difficult to fund new infrastructure."
On Tuesday, Premier Dwight Ball announced the provincial deficit is expected to hit $1.96 billion this fiscal year. Projected revenues are down by $870 million, mainly due to plunging oil prices and reduced oil production.
Bruce said the most shocking part about Tuesday's announcement is, if left unchecked, net deficit is expected to grow to $23 billion in five years.
"If we look at the federal election campaign, the Liberal party took some heat because they said they were going to run a stimulus program and run a $10 billion deficit and that's for the country," he said.
"And here we are, small province, half a million people, with a $2 billion dollar deficit figure this year."