POLITICS

Federal budget aims to entice many with 'sprinkling' of incentives: minister

04/21/2015 06:35 EDT | Updated 07/14/2015 12:59 EDT
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Federal budget promises ranging from compassionate care to skills training offer a sprinkling of benefits for maximum appeal, says Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister.

Ross Wiseman delayed delivering his own provincial budget to wait for Ottawa's spending plan.

He'll table it sometime next week but wouldn't say more late Tuesday, except that it won't be affected by the federal blueprint.

"It won't change our fiscal outlook in any way, but there are a sprinkling of things in there that are important for us, though," he said.

Wiseman said more help from Ottawa to ease child-care expenses and increase access to export markets could help the province. Extending compassionate care benefits under employment insurance to six months from six weeks will also appeal to many people, he added.

Wiseman wants to hear more about potential infrastructure cash as part of the federal government's plan to spend $210 million for cross-Canada celebrations as the country turns 150 in 2017.

A commitment to help post-secondary schools design programs more in tune with what industry needs is also of interest, he said outside the legislature.

"There's a number of other things in there that may have some value to many Canadians in many jurisdictions. But fundamentally, there's no one single group who's running away from this budget saying: 'This was a huge win for us.'"

Wiseman said he couldn't say much more before he learns the finer details.

"I haven't had a drill-down into where the money's coming from," he said of the federal government's projected surplus of $1.4 billion this year, increasing to $4.8 billion in 2019-20.