December 11, 2001


Finance Minister disappointed in federal budget

Finance Minister and Treasury Board President Joan Marie Aylward today expressed her disappointment in the federal budget. 

"Yesterday's federal budget was a missed opportunity to address significant issues for Canadians, most notably health care," said Minister Aylward. "While safety and security are important to Canadians, health care is the number one priority for most people right across this country and it is certainly the top priority for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"This province joined others in calling on the federal government to restore health care funding to pre-1994 levels. It is disappointing that Ottawa did not redirect some of its surplus to this critical area."

The federal budget also failed to respond to the province's request to improve the equalization program, particularly with respect to the ceiling on equalization payouts. 

"A commitment to improve the equalization program was well within the federal government's fiscal capacity and would have gone a long way to assist provinces during the current economic slowdown," said Minister Aylward.

"If the federal government really wanted to help the provinces grow their own economies, thereby contributing to an improved national GDP position, the budget should have included commitments to assist us in delivering the public services Canadians expect and deserve."

Media contact: Lynn Barter, Communications, (709) 729-0329.

2001 12 11                          9:30 a.m.

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