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New Brunswick government says no return to balanced budgets until 2021-2022

New Brunswick Finance Minister Cathy Rogers takes questions from reporters before joining her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts for dinner in Ottawa, Sunday, December 10, 2017. .
New Brunswick Finance Minister Cathy Rogers takes questions from reporters before joining her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts for dinner in Ottawa, Sunday, December 10, 2017. . Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

The New Brunswick government plans to increase spending in today’s provincial budget and delay a return to balanced budgets for the next couple of years.

A government source tells The Canadian Press the province will spend an extra $74 million in the 2018-2019 budget to support programs for economic competitiveness, youth employment and seniors.

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The source says the government now expects to see a return to balanced books in the 2021-2022 budget year.

On Monday, Finance Minister Cathy Rogers said the province has a number of challenges that need investments now.

But Charles Lammam of the Fraser Institute says it’s time the New Brunswick government cuts spending and starts to address a net debt of $14 billion.

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Gallant looks back on 2017: ‘There’s going to be some ups and downs’
Gallant looks back on 2017: ‘There’s going to be some ups and downs’

He says when measured as a share of the provincial economy, New Brunswick currently stands as one of the most indebted provinces in all of Canada.

Jeff Carr of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives says the government is being irresponsible in its spending and should be reducing the debt now.