04/24/2013 06:00 EDT | Updated 06/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Former Nova Scotia finance minister says he didn't mislead house on deficit

HALIFAX - Former Nova Scotia finance minister Graham Steele says he did not mislead the legislature when he tabled an inaccurate budget deficit figure in the spring of 2012.

Steele rose to address the issue in the legislature for the first time today.

He had previously said outside of the house that he did not deliberately mislead the legislature when he delivered a budget last year that overstated revenue estimates by $27 million.

Steele repeated that message in the house on Wednesday, saying he presented figures that had been established before a March 1 cutoff date and that had been verified by provincial auditor general Jacques Lapointe.

In his February report Lapointe said the government delivered a deficit forecast of $211 million when it was aware the actual figure was $238 million.

On Tuesday the government voted down a Liberal motion that an internal affairs committee of the legislature look into what happened.