Saskatchewan's Scott Moe 'sold people a lie' with promise of balanced budget: NDP

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REGINA — Saskatchewan's Opposition leader says Premier Scott Moe deliberately misled voters with his promise to balance the budget by 2024.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili says there's been nothing since last fall's election to suggest economic factors have worsened since the campaign when Moe repeatedly committed to that date.

Meili notes oil prices have, in fact, improved.

Saskatchewan's finance minister said Monday that eliminating the $2-billion deficit by 2024 would be "very, very difficult" because of a slower than expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donna Harpauer said there is a small hope it could still happen, but projections indicate the Saskatchewan Party government is likely to have to adjust its target date.

The premier has said more details will be provided when the next provincial budget is tabled in April, and only time will tell if the deficit can be cleared by 2024.

Meili says he believes Moe never intended to keep his promise.

"Everyday in the campaign the premier stood up and said he was going to balance the budget by 2024. He was lying," Meili said on Wednesday.

"He knew very well that wasn't something he was going to be able to do, but he sold people a lie."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021

The Canadian Press