For immediate release
Dec. 19, 2019
Fiscal management of the province is failing: NDP Leader
NDP Leader Alison Coffin is reacting today to the Auditor General’s report and news that the province’s net debt is at a record high.
Coffin says the report clearly shows that the province is still in a critical financial situation and that government has no realistic plan to turn this around.
“The Auditor General’s analysis finds that we are moving in the wrong direction in every indicator of financial stability,” said Coffin. “While the government continues to insist reaching a balanced budget by 2022-2023 is feasible, the Auditor General outlined the many risks to achieving this goal.”
“In fact, the Auditor General’s report uses the word ‘risk’ over and over again to warn of the many impediments that could affect government’s attempts to balance the budget in the desired time frame,” Coffin said.
“Government’s plan for our province’s fiscal future is based on a wing and a prayer,” said Coffin.
Equally disturbing, Coffin says, is the fact that the Auditor General is not able to answer certain questions on electricity rate mitigation because government has not given her the required information.
At a time when the AG’s report shows downward and deteriorating trends in the province’s financial situation, Coffin says it’s time for the Minister of Finance and the government to level with the people of the province.
“The Minister continues to skirt the issues and after five years in power, we see no real diversification of our economy, no plan outside of the continued reliance on oil revenues, and no solid commitment from the federal government to protect us from rising electricity costs due to the Muskrat Falls disaster,” said Coffin.
Equally concerning is the AG’s follow-up report on recommendations she made in 2016. The Auditor General made 96 recommendations on things that needed fixing in government agencies and departments. Coffin was alarmed to discover that, three years later, the AG reports that less than half of the fixes she recommended have been done.
“Three years ago, the AG found problems in areas including child protection, acute care beds, and road ambulance services. These problems directly affect people in NL on a day-to-day basis. This is not good enough,” Coffin said.
Coffin says the fiscal management of the province is failing.
“Clearly the million dollars government spent on an economic diversification consultant report last year didn’t work.”
For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or firstname.lastname@example.org.