VICTORIA – In Question Period on Wednesday, Adrian Dix and the New Democrats challenged the Liberals to explain why they claim their budget is balanced when, in fact, it is not.
“In fact, it's the Liberals' fifth deficit budget in a row,” said New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix, leading off in Question Period. “How can the minister of finance go out and spend taxpayers' dollars on a partisan Liberal ad campaign claiming a balanced budget when this budget isn't balanced at all?”
Dix cited several line items in Budget 2013 that shatter the Liberal claim that it is balanced:
- More than $800 million in public asset sales that could be delayed past a year or blocked for any number of reasons;
- Delaying the sale of one of those assets, the sale of the former Little Mountain housing site, for two full years until they needed it to show balance in their election year budget;
- Using accounting tricks to move expenditures out of their bogus budget into the previous budget year;
- Showing a $545 million profit from B.C. Hydro, despite B.C.'s Auditor General reporting that Liberal accounting tricks "creates the appearance of profitability where none actually exists;"
- A reduction of $233 million from projected spending in the previous budget that will result in cuts across the system;;
- Booking unrealistic and unsustainable expenditures in many ministries and program areas that deliver front-line services to British Columbians.
“This is 2009 all over again, where the government claimed a deficit of $495 million, maximum, a week before the election and proved to be multiple times that afterwards. This is the same as 2009 when the government said, ‘No cuts to health care here,’ and then after the election imposed cuts to services to people that mattered,” said Dix in the legislature.
Dix asked, “Will the [finance] minister withdraw his ad campaign — not spend that money — claiming a balanced budget, which does not exist in fact?”
The Liberals have shown they’re not up to the challenges facing British Columbians. Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.