BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Legislature Back June 26, Budget To Be Introduced

06/13/2013 06:42 EDT | Updated 08/13/2013 05:12 EDT
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VICTORIA - British Columbia's newly-elected Liberal government is heading back to the legislature later this month to pass the budget it introduced last February and fought about during the May election campaign.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the legislature will resume sitting on June 26, commencing with a throne speech and the election of a new speaker of the legislature. He said he will introduce a budget that includes updated financial numbers June 27.

The legislative session is scheduled to last for one month, adjourning on July 25, said de Jong.

De Jong said the budget includes updated financial numbers that will reflect the province's financial performance since the government introduced its budget in February.

"We're on target," he said. "A little bit of pressure in some instances, revenue down slightly, in some instances, revenue up."

The budget de Jong introduced last February, four months before the May 14 election, forecast a surplus of $197 million. The Opposition New Democrats said the surplus estimate was largely propped up by Liberal forecasts of property asset sales that had yet to occur.

The NDP said the budget was more likely a deficit and throughout the election campaign said they believed the budget would end up $800 million in the red.

De Jong said the updated budget he introduces on June 27 will also include updates on the government's asset sales.

"We will be able to update the asset sales and show we are on target there," he said.

Premier Christy Clark will not have a seat in the legislature for the start of the sitting.

Clark lost her Vancouver-Point Grey seat in the May election and is currently campaigning in a Kelowna-area byelection to secure a legislature seat, but the vote isn't until July 10.

Westside-Kelowna Liberal Ben Stewart stepped aside to allow Clark to run in his riding, which is considered safe Liberal territory.

The Opposition NDP was not immediately available for comment.

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