The leader of the New Democratic Party of P.E.I. is critical of the provincial government over what he says has been financial mismanagement.
In a release, NDP leader Mike Redmond took the province to task regarding finance minister Wes Sheridan’s indication the government would have to either cut another $30 million this year to meet the target of a balanced budget in 2015 or delay the objective until 2016.
“And even that statement - as scary as it is considering the effects of the HST are still unknown - is difficult to believe given the track record of this minister and this government," Redmond said.
He also criticized what he termed the government’s mismanagement for jeopardizing its Social Action Plan announced last May.
While Redmond said the NDP was concerned with a lack of details and focus in the plan when first introduced, he added it “at least seemed that the government realized that there was a problem and was prepared to start addressing poverty in Prince Edward Island”
“Unfortunately, it now seems that government is suggesting they have no money left to help people in need,” said Redmond.
The announcement last week was the second time the deficit elimination date has been pushed back. In 2010, Sheridan said the budget would be balanced by 2014. Then in 2012, that date was pushed back to 2015.
"Meanwhile, thousands of Islanders do not have decent paying jobs, and can't afford food, electricity, and heating oil. People are scared. They can't feed their families and heat their homes," said Redmond.
“The Social Action Plan listed proposed measures including social assistance increases, help for people with disabilities, strengthened addictions services, and changes in tax policies to assist low income Islanders.”
"Minister Sheridan is now pushing his own mismanagement back on to Islanders and asking us what he should do, as if it were the people of the province that caused these problems and not his own government," the NDP leader continued.
The province is hosting a schedule of weekday afternoon sessions for pre-budget consultations from Friday, Feb. 1 to Friday, Feb. 8. Individuals are expected to register attendance with the province before Wednesday, Jan. 30.