POLITICS

New Brunswick finance minister vows fiscal updates despite legislation changes

03/10/2015 05:05 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's finance minister says he will continue to provide quarterly fiscal updates even though an omnibus bill the government has introduced would remove that as a legislated requirement.

Roger Melanson says the changes contained in the omnibus bill introduced earlier in this legislative session are being made because governments shouldn't be bound by the fiscal policies of their predecessors.

The bill would repeal legislation including requirements to reduce deficits by $125 million annually, the authority to penalize cabinet ministers $2,500 if they don't reduce deficits and a provision requiring a referendum to introduce new taxes, raise the harmonized sales tax or implement highway tolls.

Tory finance critic Blaine Higgs says the Liberal government is making wholesale changes because their spending plans wouldn't allow them to meet the deficit reduction targets.

He says the verbal promise of quarterly financial updates isn't worth the words being said.