Getting back to business – Metro US

Getting back to business

The Dexter government is planning to bring forward an ambitious list of items over the course of this year’s fall sitting of the legislature.

Chief among them will be the province’s first-ever capital budget, distinct from the province’s operating budget, which will be tabled in the coming months. Premier Darrell Dexter said delivering the capital budget in the fall gives departments more time to plan their spending initiatives.

“This is just good financial planning, a good way to maximize the planning flexibility of the departments,” he said yesterday.

Dexter said the fall sitting will also see his government’s response to the Ross Report, made public Tuesday. In addition, Dexter said the government will table a five-year roads plan, a 10-year farming strategy, and a “job plan.”

He said he will not discuss specifics until the initiatives are brought before the house.

Some things to keep an eye on during this legislative session:

The end of the expense scandal probe
RCMP executed a search warrant on the Speaker’s Office in July, though the warrant itself is sealed and the RCMP will not confirm its existence.

Speaker Charlie Parker said he expects the investigation to wrap up this fall, with the possibility of criminal charges being laid against up to five current and former MLAs.

Capital budget
For the first time ever, the province’s capital budget (as distinct from the operating budget) will be delivered.

Premier Darrell Dexter says tabling the capital budget in the fall ensures it will be approved for springtime construction season.

New AG Act
Auditor General Jacques Lapointe criticized the government last June for its “pervasive culture of secrecy,” after the NDP withheld hundreds of documents from his office. Finance Minister Graham Steele pledged to amend the AG Act to address the issues.

Jamie Baillie
The soon-to-be-minted Tory leader won his seat. Now we’ll see how effective he’ll be from the legislature floor.

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