PEI

Maritime provinces could open to each other by July, King says

Premier Dennis King said there are ongoing discussions about opening a “bubble” with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sometime this summer.

'We can't continue to live the way we have been living for a long time'

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says opening up the Maritime provinces would help stimulate the economy. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Premier Dennis King said there are ongoing discussions about opening a "bubble" with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sometime this summer.

King was speaking via Zoom with about 175 members of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday when he was asked about opening the borders between the Maritime provinces.

"We're trying to figure out how in July we can begin to have people moving back and forth a little bit more freely without the need to self-isolate throughout the Maritimes," he said.

"That will be a good stimulation to our economy to assist with our tourism to a smaller degree than other years. But it's a step that we need to take because we all know we can't continue to live the way we have been living for a long time."

Swelling unemployment

King noted that in the span of a month, the number of people unemployed or displaced from the labour force grew by 17,000 on P.E.I.

He said it would not be unrealistic for the provincial deficit to grow to up to $170 million this year.

"The impact of tourism will be measured in millions of dollars of losses and that is something we can't hide from," he said.

"Tourists aren't coming. That means HST, corporate income tax will be down significantly, and those who weren't working won't be paying as much tax."

More from CBC P.E.I.

Corrections

  • This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly quoted the premier as stating the province's deficit for this year could reach up to $270 million. In fact, the premier said the deficit could reach up to $170 million.
    May 27, 2020 8:36 PM AT

With files from Nicole Williams

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