Finance Minister Graham Steele told reporters Thursday that he will be seeking assurances from Defence Minister Peter MacKay, the political minister for Nova Scotia, that an item in the budget delaying capital spending does not mean any changes or delays to the contract.
The contract was awarded with much ballyhoo last fall – and has sparked a new vibrancy in Halifax and other parts of the province.
“We just wanted to be reassured that capital spending has nothing to do with the shipbuilding procurement contract,” Mr. Steele said. “We would have preferred to have an explicit statement in the document [saying it would not be affected] We looked for it and we couldn’t find it.”
He said he would “welcome a reassurance” from Mr. MacKay that “today’s budget does not impact that strategy, which is so critically important to Nova Scotia’s future.”
There are also concerns about military job cuts. Mr. Steele noted that “half or more of the people who draw a federal paycheque in Nova Scotia are in the armed forces.”
He said the Harper government has made statements that Nova Scotia will be “relatively spared in the [job]reductions.”
“But it remains to be seen exactly what will happen on the ground,” he added.
Mr. Steele delivers Nova Scotia’s budget Tuesday. - Jane Taber
Newfoundland and Labrador
Tom Marshall, Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservative finance minister, said the 19,200 jobs being cut in the public service might not affect the province as much as he had feared.
“I understand 7,000 of those are going to be through attrition, and that a third of them are going to be in the Ottawa region,” Mr. Marshall said. “So the job cuts, they're not as big as we were scared they might be, and we understand, at least we've been told, that they're going to be proportionate. But we'll wait and see.”
Overall, Mr. Marshall said the budget wasn't as tough as he expected. “I was expecting that the cuts could be more draconian than they were,” he said. “What it appears they're doing instead of slashing and burning and doing it all once, they're going to do it over a period of time.
“I think that could be a wise thing.”
But Mr. Marshall questioned whether the budget helps business or resource development. “They're eliminating for the oil and gas industry and the mining industry the Atlantic Investment Tax Credit, that's a tax credit for people in Atlantic Canada, a 10-per-cent tax credit on their equipment purchases,” he explained.
“Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Vale Inco would have benefited from that and it's being eliminated I think over four years for the oil and gas and the mining industry. So that's going to negatively impact them.” - The Canadian Press
Editor's note: An earlier version of this online story incorrectly identified the party that Ken Krawetz belongs to. This online version has been corrected.
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