- Ernie Steeves, the Finance Minister of New Brunswick, mocked the province’s budget for 2022-23, claiming that it would have “something for everyone in New Brunswick.”
- Nurses union representatives, according to Doucet, were not fully consulted in the development of the 2022-23 budget, as they had been in the past.
- When presenting the budget to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Steeves highlighted the increase in public sector wages.
New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves mocked the province’s budget for 2022-23, saying it would have “something for everyone in New Brunswick.”
While this may be true, stakeholders argue that there are gaps.
“It’s one thing to touch base with everyone, but what about having solid planning and actionable items?” “I believe that’s what’s missing,” says Paula Doucet, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU).
According to Doucet, although this budget contains the largest increase in healthcare spending in the province in over a decade, the NBNU cannot give it a passing grade.
The Department of Health will receive a 6.4 percent increase in funding, or $194 million.
Doucet raises concerns about the lack of specifics surrounding field needs, such as recruitment and retention, which the NBNU has been raising concerns about.
“I believe I could have given this budget a couple of failing grades.”
According to Doucet, nurses union representatives were not fully consulted in the drafting of the 2022-23 budget, as they had been in the past.
On the morning of the budget’s release, stakeholders are usually invited to review it and ask questions.
According to Doucet, the nurses union didn’t get the invitation until the last minute.
Doucet raised the issue of recruitment and retention, which other stakeholders had hoped to see addressed more fully.
According to Stephen Drost, the CUPE New Brunswick president, this isn’t good for the province.
“Recruitment and retention in the public sector are critical issues,” he says.
“We haven’t made enough investments in public services.”
Drost says the budget for 2022-23 gets a passing grade, but only just.
He claims that putting more emphasis on improving public services will help the province’s population growth, which Steeves has identified as a top priority.
Steeves highlighted the increase in public sector wages when presenting the budget to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
On the other hand, Drost points to sweeping strikes last fall that pushed the govt to do just that.
“They placed those workers out on the streets to get a decent wage,” Drost explains.
Tourism was one of the industries that were ecstatic with Tuesday’s results.
TIANB (Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick) gives the budget a 9 out of 10 ratings.
The Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture’s budget has been increased by 26%, with 47% more tourism-related spending than last year.
“We expected an increase, but not by that much,” says Carol Alderdice, president, and CEO of TIANB.
She believes the additional funding will be a lifeline for an industry that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the next fiscal year, the province plans to increase spending by 5.5 percent.
Source: Global News
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