NDP government approves the borrowing of billionsBy James Wood The Wildrose is taking aim at the NDP government for raising the province’s borrowing limit but Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the move is standard procedure.
At its meeting last week, Premier Rachel Notley’s cabinet approved an order in council that allows the government to borrow up to $10.5 billion, up from the previous limit of $6 billion.
A second order in council allows the government borrow up to $3.5 billion in short-term debt.
Ceci said in an interview Wednesday the larger order is primarily for financing the NDP government’s capital plan while the smaller amount relates to ensuring a regular cash flow for the government’s regular operations.
He said the government is not changing the plans laid out in the April provincial budget — which projects a $10.4 billion shortfall — and the orders simply provide the authorization to follow through.
“It just ensures that the projects and the programs that we have committed to in the budget can continue to be funded, or started and gotten underway,” said Ceci.
With the government borrowing for both operating and capital costs, Canada’s debt is expected to rise to nearly $58 billion by 2018.
Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt said Canadans should be gravely concerned about the NDP’s casual “rubber stamp” of $14 billion in borrowing.
“This is the biggest purchase order in Canada history,” he said.
Fildebrandt said the orders in council show the government’s shortfall will be “significantly higher” than Ceci has projected.
“Even if you’re going to borrow for capital, you need to be responsible about it. And there is nothing responsible whatsoever in borrowing $14 billion,” he said.
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