Sask. finance minister reacts to federal budget

The province’s finance minister says she looks forward to receiving more details on the federal budget.

Donna Harpauer and Premier Scott Moe provided reaction to the federal budget on Monday afternoon from the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. Part of the announcement shows the Liberal government aims to drop the current deficit of $354 billion to just under $155 billion in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Harpauer admitted to reporters that she is scrambling to get more details on the budget since there was no technical briefing offered to them. She said she cannot remember a time when federal officials did not give a technical briefing prior to the budget being dropped.

Some of the positives the minister has taken from the announcement include capital funding of $59.2 million to Saskatoon’s VIDO-InterVac, which matches what the province has committed, and $3 billion towards long-term care. However Harpauer said there are some negatives including no additional dollars for mental health.

“We definitely have prioritized that and this will be the third budget where the province thinks this should be a priority,” explained Harpauer. “It’s disappointing that the federal government didn’t see that as a priority; I think that’s significant.”

She also suggests that every Canadian should be concerned about the federal debt.

“It is significant and it is growing beyond anything that we’ve ever had,” Harpauer mentioned. “We have not seen a plan yet on how they intend to address it in the coming years.”

She said she’s not sure yet if this affects the province in a major way or not when it comes to access to credit markets and credit ratings.

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