News / Winnipeg

After flurry of announcements, Manitoba premier hints at budget announcement before election

Greg Selinger says there will be an announcement about this year's provincial budget, but didn't say what or when.

The polls haven't been favouring Premier Greg Selinger or his NDP leading up to the provincial election, and a University of Winnipeg prof said announcing a budget may not help their case.

Braeden Jones/ Metro

The polls haven't been favouring Premier Greg Selinger or his NDP leading up to the provincial election, and a University of Winnipeg prof said announcing a budget may not help their case.

Premier Greg Selinger announced a lot of different things in the past month, but a budget wasn’t one of them.

His NDP government let media outlets know of more than 110 different projects and programs during the blitz, which came to a close with a legally required cessation of such announcements on Wednesday, 90 days before polls open April 19.

In all of the hullabaloo, Selinger committed more than $400 million in spending—but the full break-down in budget form was not part of the announcements.

Selinger did say “there will be an announcement on that (a budget), but not today” during his last speaking engagement, Tuesday.

He also said “everything is on the table” and “all things are on the table as we prepare for the future.”

Malcolm Bird, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Winnipeg believes releasing a budget could be problematic for the NDP.

“It would be very specific, and mean that all of these numbers (associated with promises made) would come to the forefront,” he said. “You probably wouldn’t want to do that.”

Bird said it would be a safer to do what Selinger has done, essentially promise money and partnerships, and elected or not, put the incoming government into a position of either accepting the commitments or breaking from them.

“Flood control, daycare spaces, it’s pretty hard to debate this stuff,” he said.

Selinger said that his government has at the very least been working to prepare for a budget, making sure plans are in place, and is otherwise waiting to see when the federal government announces its financial plan.

“They’re going to need the provincial partners to act on their stimulus program. We want to be ready to move forward with them on that, along with our partners at the municipal level,” he said.

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