FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Liberal finance minister says Tuesday's federal budget raises concerns for his province, particularly when it comes to the level of transfer payments.
Roger Melanson said the Conservative government in Ottawa needs to improve the transfer formulas to address the needs of the provinces.
"They are not providing us, from our perspective, with the appropriate level of funding for us to be able to provide to the needs of seniors, education and health care," Melanson said.
He says there needs to be a new formula for health-care transfers that takes into account New Brunswick's aging and declining population.
"Certainly when you have a per capita calculation with a cap on health-care transfers, it's putting a lot of pressure on New Brunswick with an aging population and a decreasing population," Melanson said.
Just last month, Melanson was fending off accusations that his first budget unfairly targets seniors and students.
Melanson's $8.6-billion budget increases premiums for seniors who use the Medavie Blue Cross drug program and removes a $113 cap on the daily amount seniors pay for nursing home care.
Melanson said he is concerned that some of the initiatives in the federal budget don't come into effect for a couple of years.
He said the federal government needs to be a partner now to help stimulate the economy.
Melanson said he is pleased that federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a balanced budget — something he says New Brunswick hopes to achieve by 2020.
The federal government is draining $2 billion from it's rainy day fund to balance the budget, while New Brunswick has created a $150-million contingency fund with its budget.