News Release: Agreement reached on Budget items

Below is a press release issued by the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning, which is made up of all 11 regular members.

A statement by the Minister of Finance on the topic can be found here.

The GNWT’s press release and background information can be found here.

(YELLOWKNIFE) March 3, 2017 – The Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning has reached agreement with Cabinet on several key items to be included in the 2017-18 budget.

After months of pressure from Regular Members and the public, the Finance Minister has agreed to include an additional $5.5-million that will be introduced in a supplementary appropriation for the 2017-18 Operations budget. These items include $2.5-million in additional funding for homecare across the NWT, additional funds for anti-poverty projects and youth-in-crisis, an increase to the Mineral Incentive Program, an increase to funds for community access roads, additional support for the fishing industry, and a partial restoration of funding that was to be cut from Aurora College.

“This was a very difficult process,” commented Committee Chair, Tom Beaulieu. “Our negotiations did not achieve everything we wanted, but this budget is very much improved as a result of Regular Members’ efforts. Our work has addressed people’s critical healthcare needs, employment, education, and other important priorities in this Assembly’s mandate.”

The latest addition to the 2017-18 budget comes on the heels of $15.4-million in improvements negotiated by the Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning since Business Plans were introduced last fall. That funding reversed several reductions to programs, improved funding for junior kindergarten, provided for implementation of 911 emergency telephone service, increased funds to address homelessness, and substantially boosted the Small Community Employment Support program.

“These gains were achieved through solidarity of Regular Members,” added Kieron Testart, Deputy Chair of the Committee. “It took some convincing, but Cabinet ultimately realized that there was a consensus supporting these essential improvements to the budget. Changes like this to a budget are a unique feature of our consensus system.”

The Committee achieved these improvements through negotiation, use of Members’ Statements and Replies to the Budget, deferral of departmental budgets as they were reviewed in the Assembly, and advice to Cabinet as departmental spending was examined. Public support for the Committee’s priorities was also a key factor.

For more information, please contact:

 Tom Beaulieu

Chair, Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories

P: 867-767-9133 ext. 12110

E: tom_beaulieu@gov.nt.ca

Kieron Testart

Deputy Chair, Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning

Danielle Mager

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories

P: 867-767-9130 ext. 12017

E: danielle_mager@gov.nt.ca