Crane grills Ghiz on finances

Teresa Wright
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Finance Minister Wes Sheridan and Premier Robert Ghiz before the first question period of the fall sitting of the P.E.I. legislature Wednesday.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane zeroed in on the provincial deficit and debt today, accusing the government of overspending and mismanaging the province's finances.

In the first question period of the fall session of the legislature, Crane used her time to grill government on its books.

She says the province is overspending by $1.5 million a week.

“Premier why are you so out of touch and continue to overspend what you’re actually taking in?” Crane asked.

Premier Robert Ghiz pulled out statistics from recent bond ratings agencies, saying P.E.I.’s financial standing is stable and even faring better than some other jurisdictions.

He said he is not willing to “cut and slash” at the deficit, a move he says would hurt Islanders.

That’s why he says he is approaching the deficit with a more tempered approach at bringing it back to balance.

“Conservative governments like to cut, they believe in less government, they believe in less intervention in society. Our government, a Liberal government, believes in the balance in providing government programs,” Ghiz said.

But Crane said the province’s deep deficit is due to poor spending decisions, and accused Ghiz of being arrogant and out of touch with Islanders.

“We have a huge problem with deficit in this province because of this government’s overspending.”

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan pointed out the worldwide recession of 2008 meant the province had to engage in stimulus spending to protect the Island’s economy from long term losses. This is a major reason the deficit has grown to $79 million.

“This was very proactive work on our behalf and, we make no bones about it, our capital budget doubled for a three-year spend,” Sheridan said.

This allowed much of P.E.I.’s infrastructure to be updated and improved, he added.

“We’re very proud of what was invested in. We stand by that investment, and now, as the premier said, we’re on a path of balance – ensure that we provide for Islanders but we’ll do it in a very balanced fashion.”

Geographic location: Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Sandra W.
    November 15, 2012 - 12:42

    Don't waste your time grilling Ghiz and his cronies about the finances..............THEY SIMPLY DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE.... Lets just make sure, come next election time that Islanders don't listen to them.

  • POLITIC FOLLOWER
    November 15, 2012 - 12:29

    My advice to the Conseratives is to focus on 2015 and not keep getting tied into this corruption/coverup sceme the Liberals are playing, take all that good energy, keep focused on the next election. This bunch if hackers will not change, they will fill their pockets, could not care less of getting elected again, and move on with their fat pensions. Any good energy should be directed at getting this PNP program subject to a Publi Inquiry. I have heard this before abiut the Immigrants getting their own lawyers and filing a class action lawsuit against the government Prmier, MLAS, Lawyers and Accountants for all this gross fraud and mismanagement of Immigrants money, Do not expect any Government official or lawyer or accouting firm to jump to the plate, as certains ones are all involved, making it bad for others. Falioar saying whicj alot of us were taught" What goes around comes around" " The truth will set you free", these are the things that wil catch all of them. Hopefully not to much longer. Olive Crane, please press the Premier to state in public the progress of the RCMP PNP probe, something he was totaslly in favour of. Than watch the body language. Good luck Olive, I never met yiu but from what I have read you are a person of intigrity and honesty, all the best.

  • Michael
    November 15, 2012 - 09:48

    The Charge of the Deficit and Debt Brigade would be a lot more effective and meaningful if its participants didn't all have fool's gold dust on their hands. Neither Conservative nor Liberal government has been able to put the need to control the public purse ahead of their desire to control the public pursee: in return for votes, they keep borrowing to give Islanders what they demand even though those same Islanders, and the rest of Canadians through transfer payments and other programs, don't want to contribute enough to cover the costs. It's not much better in any other jurisdiction, economic troubles or not; about the only governments that have the possibility of getting ahead are Alberta and Saskatchewan, due to oil revenues... which are a problem in themselves. Ghiz and his government want the private sector to step up to the plate? If they could do that, they wouldn't be running to government all the time for loans, loan guarantees, tax breaks, and the like. It's not like business just came on the scene since this government was elected; if they could be in the economic driver's seat, wouldn't they already be? Make the tough choices, boys and girls, and live with the consequences knowing, at least, you did the right thing. Ensuring you get your compensation, at the expense of the society that provides it, is no boost to your reputations, professional or personal.

  • Ghiz is shrewd, it's Islanders who are . . .
    November 15, 2012 - 08:17

    Ghiz just doesn't get it . . . call it the sliver spoon syndrome or just arrogance, who can tell? It's not that his government is spending too much, it's that his government is misspending. Millions and millions on pavement so few want and nobody needs, PNP with little due diligence and no accountability, a new school in a zone with an over abundance of unused seats (in his riding) - but cutbacks on making schooling more relevant and broken promises in Souris, huge subsidies for corporate interests that have no public support, but cutbacks in health. However, I guess if you look at it through the lens of self-interest and helping those who will keep him in power, he's a very shrewd man. Well, he's shrewd, but Islanders are . . . what rhymes with shrewd.

  • Shameful
    November 15, 2012 - 08:10

    Arrogant, you got that right, 2015 can't come soon enough, but we will be so far indebt that we may never climb out. I can't believe anything this government says because they have been lying for so long now they wouldn't know a truth if came up and slapped they on the face.

  • Marie
    November 15, 2012 - 08:09

    Unlike ghiz and sheridan, I will try to stick with honesty!!! Actually, in 2008 you misused a lot of people's money and doled it out carelessly. You engaged in, what should be considered, corrupt behavior and destroyed the Island long term. When the law suits begin to recover these misused funds, will you be there to pay it back??? For sure you trippled the deficit, because you blew a great deal of money that you KNEW would have to be returned. Doubled the budget for three years?!? The Chinese doubled our budget for a lot more than three years, but you had to blow it from 2008-2011 before the proverbial stuff hit the fan, AND IT HAS. Oh yes, you've done wonders for the Island... a huge hospital with no Island doctors or specialists. Pretty hospital, as long as you don't need to use it! Closing all the government offices. Even if you have a complaint, there's nowhere to go. University students can't find part time employment, yet you expect layed off workers to find full time work. Many tight circles to nowhere and running out of drinking water. Yes OK, you've improved the infrastructure lol When are you leaving for Ottawa? That's the ONLY news I'm waiting for. Keep at them Olive Crane...loving you!!!

  • Cindy
    November 15, 2012 - 08:03

    I am not happy that the province's finances are the way they are, but I am less happy about how Olive Crane is behaving. It is not constructive to keep on finding blame and that is what she has been doing all the time. Instead of playing the blame game, she should be looking for ways to contribute to solving the problem and heal the rift between parties. I think her behaviour is divisive, unproductive, immature, and shameful.

  • chucker
    November 15, 2012 - 07:59

    These two gentlemen lied about HST before the vote last fall. If they did not do the revenue grabbing HST ( $25 million) and increased fees on almost every government service then the credit rating would have been downgraded by every agency over the last four or five months. Please note folks that HST does not have to be set up as a revenue grab. It can be revenue neutral and it is in other jurisdictions. These guys are desperate for cash. And they are pretending that they are not. They have already entered the Ottawa pay off into the revenue side. Dishonesty and desperation. Despite the pretending that is what is actually going on here.

  • treehuggers cousin
    November 14, 2012 - 23:14

    do all you nominds not remember that lovely tory goverment under the leadership of pat binns dont forget he made big golf courses in kings county and made 6 or 7 buissness men millionaires nor to mention what he did for 7 or 8 fish buyers with the polar foods racketmade more millionaires poor olive from the clay road stop grasping at straws you know you are or should be bracing for the big fall your party has in store for you,oh yes and dont for get , support plan B

    • The Facilitator
      November 15, 2012 - 12:47

      So what's your point? "We're shafted, no matter what party we vote for????"

  • me
    November 14, 2012 - 20:46

    If Ghiz and Sheridan would honestly like to try to live on minimum wage and pay their mortgages (if they have one) and groceries etc for one year and be like the people and tell us how it works for them on minimum wage like many islanders have to do, then I will listen to what changes in government they would like to make.

    • The Facilitator
      November 15, 2012 - 12:50

      How could a person on minimum wage ever buy a house let alone qualify for a mortgage?

    • Lyss
      November 15, 2012 - 22:56

      If a person has good enough credit then they can qualify for a mortage no one said how big of one! Geez you can get a mortage on minimum wage your obviously not as smart as you think you are..... You just have to live on a budget maybe in a lot of cases a very tight one

  • Explanation is not logical
    November 14, 2012 - 19:52

    Go after them Olive! Hold them accountable! Sheriden and Ghiz's responses are not logical and they have not helped the economy! I agree with Alfredd regarding the HST will halt spending and harm the economy, the people of PEI. It has not been successful anywheres else and will not be successful here. Elementary economics: when there is no jobs, low paying jobs, people are struggling, you do not increase taxes. But this is just a tax grab. The gov't has not been on target with any of its financial management. Sheriden has not a clue, like the others, in how to manage the portfolio he has been given. The results will be disasterous. The poor will get poorer, the middle class will continue to disappear and the richh of course will get even more rich and priviledged. So, since we are going down hill fast, might as well crash and burn., hope it happens soon, just put the province into bankrupsy and disban the gov't - we will make history on this.

  • Garth Staples
    November 14, 2012 - 18:56

    The condescending replies to Crane's legitimate questions were unbecoming the leadership of this province. Obnoxious is another word I could use.

  • Joe Citizen
    November 14, 2012 - 18:53

    Self serving statement here, but, N.S has an NDP government. The NDP has exempted wood, wood pellets, and electricity as heating sources from the H.S.T. Since I'm electrically heated,...N.S here I come.

  • john h bernard
    November 14, 2012 - 18:43

    I hear around kensington that you would jump at any thing and have been trying to find something to get away from the big crash that is coming. your spending and managing is out of control and you two know it,

  • Fed Up
    November 14, 2012 - 18:11

    Arrogant is the word. Ghiz is the most arrogant controlling leader we have ever seen on PEI - in ANY province!!! Spending like you know what....and lying through his teeth! No HST he said - when running. Won't hurt "little people"....everyone has to pay a funeral Ghiz........all going up 9%....try 9% on ten to fifteen thousand dollars? Drop in the bucket for you and Wes Sheridan's salary. Devasting for the rest of us!!! But keep on building your hwys no one wants. Keep on building round-abouts. PEI is a laughing stock of the other provinces......calling us "Round About Island" and Run Around Ronnie.....Wake up....try to think of something other than spending OUR money!

    • Agreed
      November 15, 2012 - 05:54

      Here, Here!

  • cut throat
    November 14, 2012 - 18:03

    hE (ghiz) HAS THE NERVE TO BRING UP THE CREDIT RATING, -- DOES HE NOT REALIZE THAT WE ALL KNOW WES HAD TO PROMISE TO BRING IN THE hst, TO COMPENSATE FOR THIS. ALL THE B.S. ABOUT NOT CUTTING BUT BALANCING IS JUST THAT, --- EVERYTHING HINGES ON THE hst, - HE IS JUST BUYING TIME, --- OH NOW WE DON'T BELIEVE IN CUTTING AND SLASHING, --TELL THAT TO ALL THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE THAT WERE NOT CALLED BACK, -- FORKED TONGUE GHIZ AND HIS CRONIES WILL HAVE US IN TAX SCHAKLES COME 2013, --- WHILE HE GETS READY TO HOSTY THE BIG 2014 PARTY, --- LET'S Face it, we are in this deficit fix because the lib. gov. squandered away our money on foolish things e.g. loans to party supporters,--- I can't even stomack listing it all, --- Madam Speaker

  • johnny cash
    November 14, 2012 - 17:19

    Bet he even had a tear when he said he wouldn't hurt islanders, sorry i near puked thinking of his sympathy for us .I call BS on the lieberals!!

  • Sylvia
    November 14, 2012 - 16:41

    And so the b.s. just keeps coming from government, enough to fertilize every field in P.E.I. What really makes me angry is that they keep shovelling this stuff and we're expected to swallow it. It's really insulting that they think some of us are that dumb and naive.

  • crafty
    November 14, 2012 - 16:16

    This was very proactive on our behalf, -says Sheridan,---- speak english for crying out loud, --- - proactive, eh, - on our behalf- puke

  • alfredd
    November 14, 2012 - 16:12

    Wes & Ghiz, - you are not on a path to balance, you are on a path to slow the economy with the HST, and only because of your promise to bring in the HST did your credit rating stay , - you cant' tell the truth, you have not got honesty in you, - and now you will tax us to death, --- thanks a lot for making our lives more difficult-- .