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March 6, 2012

Minister Calls on Opposition Leader to Get His Facts Straight

Comments today by the Official Leader of the Opposition during Question Period contradict statements he made only a few weeks ago after the speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade by the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. At that time, the Opposition Leader was quoted as being largely in agreement with the course of action that was laid out by the Premier.

“Today the Opposition Leader stated this government has failed to have a proper financial management plan in place,” said the Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board. “When we were first elected eight years ago, the province was on the verge of financial ruin. Our debt of almost $12 billion was the highest per capita in the country yet our infrastructure was crumbling and many programs and services were severely underfunded. Through a long-term plan of sound fiscal management, we have become an economic model for the rest of the country while simultaneously investing significantly in the people of the province. We are now a ‘have’ province and what we have been able to accomplish since first coming to power is nothing short of remarkable.”

As a clear indication that the province has been living within its means, this will be the sixth time out of the past seven years that a surplus will be posted. The improvement in Newfoundland and Labrador’s financial situation has been validated by external stakeholders as well with the province being awarded the highest credit rating in its history from Standard & Poors who noted our “strong liquidity position, reflecting past operating surpluses and prudent spending practices.”

“We have not borrowed for operational purposes since 2004,” said Minister Marshall. “Yet we have made lives better for residents by lowering taxes by $500 million annually and investing in a multi-billion dollar infrastructure program. There has never been a better time to live in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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Media contact:
Luke Joyce
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 725-4165

2012 03 06                         5:15 p.m.

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