- Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson made severe accusations concerning the province’s finances on Wednesday.
- According to Premier Blaine Higgs, the government initially reported an income of $145 million, which increased to $237 million.
On Wednesday, Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson leveled serious allegations about the province’s finances.
The second-quarter financials for New Brunswick were disclosed on Nov. 16, but Melanson believes the numbers were distorted.
“I believe there were political machinations and data manipulation here,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “So, when $145 million in additional revenue is declared for Q1, and it goes to a quarter of a billion dollars in five weeks, something tells me there were monies or revenues hidden and not made public.”
Melanson even wrote to the auditor general, requesting an independent audit of the previous reporting.
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Melanson wrote in the letter that as a former finance minister, he is “very disturbed” by the government’s lack of transparency and the apparent manipulation of these records.
According to Premier Blaine Higgs, the government initially reported an income of $145 million, which increased to $237 million. The publication of both findings was postponed beyond the regular deadline.
“We were a little startled in our case because we were expecting a deficit,” he explained. “So, in the first quarter, we were thinking, ‘Are we sure this is right?’ since it wasn’t matching our projections. We took the time to assure that having a surplus was appropriate.”
According to Higgs, that number jumped by $84.6 million in Q2 due to the HST.
“There is no reason to be concerned. “I have complete faith in our financial team and their competence,” Higgs said of those assisting the finance and treasury boards in filing these reports.
Higgs didn’t say whether he’d comply if the auditor general looked into the records, but he did say he thought it was a futile exercise and that he had nothing to hide.
After factoring in the recent ratification of a deal with 10 of the 11 CUPE locals negotiating contracts, the surplus came in a little under $89.1 million.
According to Finance Minister Ernie Steeves, New Brunswick’s financial predicament isn’t exceptional, who pointed to the province’s western neighbor, Quebec, which cut its deficit by $11 million.
The Office of the Auditor-General has received Melanson’s letter.
“We’ve been thinking about chapters for this upcoming publication while working on our financial audit volume. “At this time, it would be premature to comment on any of this material,” a representative for the AG’s office stated.
It stated that the office closely monitors the financial outcomes and related reporting but gave no assurance that the books would be examined sooner than usual.
Source: Global News
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