Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen brought down his government’s first budget yesterday. The PC’s were elected on a promise to reduce the province’s runaway deficit spending but this budget doesn’t even begin to address it. Despite a huge mandate from Manitoba voters to trim the fat the Tories have decided to go the ultra cautious route. Rather than cut spending they have increased it in virtually every government department. This cannot be described as a conservative budget by any reasonable measure. Instead, it’s more of the same. This could just as easily have been a Greg Dewar NDP budget.
Yes, there were some tweaks to bracket creep, which is a good thing. And yes, there is going to be a reversal of the education assessment tax break given to seniors but otherwise this is a stand pat effort on the part of a government that gives all the appearance of lacking the courage to make the moves it was hired to make. “Let’s not make any cuts because that will play into the opposition hands.” One gets the impression that those words were uttered in preparation for this document.
The Tories will claim they’ve only had six weeks to prepare this budget. Don’t believe it. They’ve had seventeen years. They were supposed to have the answers and now they’re telling us is all they have are more questions. It’s not good enough.