EARNING OUR WAY
Newfoundland and Labrador is now an oil-producing province. We are moving toward
further development of the hydroelectric potential of the Churchill River system. And, we
are moving toward developing the nickel deposit at Voiseys Bay.
The value of our fishery, while still held back by the collapse of groundfish stocks,
is increasing because of shellfish landings. Our forest industries are doing well. Tourism
is expanding. Aquaculture is developing. Information and biotechnology industries are
advancing. Manufacturing and small enterprises in our rural and urban areas are growing.
Mr. Speaker, our prospects have never looked better. However, prospects do not pay the
bills. Voiseys Bay has generated growth only indirectly, through mineral
exploration. Hibernia royalties are welcome, but modest. And the new Churchill Falls
Projects will not produce power until 2007.
Revenues from these projects will not reach the public treasury for some years to come.
That means we must stay the course and manage our finances wisely.
The alternatives - to raise taxes, to make deeper cuts to essential services, or to
borrow - are alternatives the people of this Province have rejected.
We will use our limited financial resources to provide better care for the sick and
elderly, a first-rate education for our children, new opportunities for those with
disabilities, and support for those with low and middle incomes to help them attain work
and achieve independence.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, I remind us all that the Budget Speech is nothing more and
nothing less than a public accounting of the finances of the people of this Province.
Every claim made for more expenditures is not a claim against the Governments
account, but rather a claim against the publics account.
That is why we must remember that a budgeting exercise is fundamentally an exercise in
making choices. The choices we have made today reflect our best judgement as to the values
that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador give highest priority.
Mr. Speaker, we must balance the publics account. So, too, must we balance the
opportunity for fulfilment to those who are least advantaged amongst us.
Mr. Speaker, this is our message. It is possible to be firm, but fair - responsible,
but responsive - in the pursuit of eliminating both our fiscal and social deficits.
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