01/29/2013 01:35 EST | Updated 03/31/2013 05:12 EDT

BC Budget 2013: Economist Tim O'Neill Tapped To Review Finances


VICTORIA - The B.C. government has hired an economist to look over its pre-election budget, giving what the finance minister says is added assurance to its economic forecasts.

Former Bank of Montreal chief economist Tim O'Neill will review the work done by Finance Ministry staff as the 2013 budget is finalized.

O'Neill will present his assessment of the government's economic and revenue forecasts to Finance Minister Mike de Jong before the budget is released Feb. 19.

De Jong says O'Neill's analytical skills and outstanding reputation will help uphold the government's commitment to fiscal transparency.

It's unclear how much O'Neill contract will cost, and B.C.'s auditor general does a review of the provincial budget after it's been delivered.

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