CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier speaking at an eventCUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Division says the provincial budget, presented today by Premier Andrew Fury and Minister of Finance Siobhan Coady, is based on misleading calculations that inflate the provincial debt to justify privatization and shedding public services.

“The Liberal government is motivated by their desire to cater to private interests, privatize public services, and destroy the public sector – not what’s in the best interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier.

“Unfortunately, the Premier and Minister of Finance have decided to take Dame Greene at her word, and they are also inflating the debt,” Hillier says, “even though Dame Greene’s privatization track record and her seats on the board of private companies show where her loyalties lie.”

“We shouldn’t just take her word for it. We should question everything. They should be reporting accurate information,” states Hillier. We need investment if we are going to improve our economic situation. What Minister Coady presented today is not that.”

“The Premier needs to think carefully about accepting the fiscal framework provided by the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT),” says Hillier. “They’ve used accounting measures that do not make sense for public financing, measures that international institutions and rating agencies disagree with.”

“The net debt is actually around $17 billion, 30 per cent of what Dame Greene says it is. That can be managed responsibly over a few years. Just ask the experts. Look at Statistics Canada’s analysis (sources below) of Newfoundland and Labrador’s debt, look at Finances of the Nation’s analysis of the debt,” says Hillier. “The experts agree with us, not with Dame Greene.”

“If Premier Fury moves ahead with the recommendations in the PERT report, our economy will suffer tremendously.”