'We are back in black': Sask. finance minister picks black budget shoes
Opposition NDP asks government to be 'on the level', brings a prop of its own
They were not worn out, fixed up or hand-me-downs. Instead, Saskatchewan Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer chose a new pair of black flats as her budget day shoes.
"We have tightened our belts. We are back in the black. We have a slight surplus. It's the right balance to go the extra mile," said Harpauer on Monday.
"[The shoes] are not pinching at all," Harpauer said with a laugh.
She will deliver her second budget as finance minister on Wednesday afternoon.
The government is calling its 2019-20 budget The Right Balance.
Harpauer told reporters they would find out what exactly that means "in two sleeps".
Last spring, the Humboldt Broncos bus crash of April 6 came just four days before Harpauer, the MLA for Humboldt, delivered her first budget. She cancelled the shoe ritual.
She said this year's budget does not have a "shadow hanging over it," and she's proud to deliver it on behalf of the government.
The government's last financial update forecasted a $348-million deficit. Budget year 2019-2020 is the final year of a three-year, back-to-balance promise from this government.
It announced a $1.2-billion deficit in 2017-18.
NDP critic brings a level
NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon showed up to his pre-budget media scrum with a prop of his own: a level.
"We're going to be scrutinizing this budget line by line making sure that the Sask. Party government is on the level with Saskatchewan people when they are calling this budget a so-called balance," Wotherspoon said.
He said it can't be a balanced budget if Crown corporation debt increases.
"This is a government that failed to get the job done during the best days. Failed to save a dime, squandered a historic opportunity and has left the Saskatchewan people and the economy it should be counting on vulnerable and weakened," Wotherspoon said.