Budget Submission 2020
Updated: Jun 25, 2020
June 4, 2020
Hon. Darlene Compton
Department of Finance 2nd Floor South, Shaw Building 95 Rochford Street P.O. Box 2000 Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7N8
Thank you for a recent letter soliciting guidance for the 2020-21 operating budget.
As I am sure you are aware, I wrote a letter to you on April 6, 2020 asking for detailed spending and revenue information from the last fiscal year. First, the information was never provided. Second, you failed to even acknowledge receipt of the letter.
True collaboration is difficult. It requires an exchange of information and open-minded debate. In the case of the 2020-21 operating budget, the members of the Liberal Caucus have received neither. In the absence of clear, reliable information, we find it close to impossible to offer you credible and well-considered budgetary advice.
Furthermore, the members of the Liberal caucus are frankly perplexed by Government’s confusing messages relative to the province’s fiscal and economic situations.
First, you submitted a document to the House that predicts record high employment levels for October of this year. This flies in the face of most economic forecasts – and additionally, has no apparent grounding in the current provincial reality.
Second, during an economic discussion on June 2, the Premier added to the confusion even further, when he said:
“I think it is probably fair to call it a depression, Mr. Speaker. If it’s not a depression, we are on our way there for sure.”
So, you can see the contradiction. Are we headed into boom times? Or are we fated to endure the worst economic downturn since the 1930s?
Obviously, the answer to those questions should guide the current year’s budget. Based on the evidence so far, and the yawning gap between the two opinions, your Government has very little sense of what our province is facing.
For that reason, we will keep our advice simple: Reinvest in health care. Prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19. Ready our school system to provide high-quality education to children. Ensure that workers are treated fairly, and small businesses are helped and preserved.
Heath MacDonald, MLA
Cc - Premier Denis King