Thursday’s “stand pat” federal budget likely won’t change life much for Nova Scotians this year, Deputy Premier Frank Corbett said Thursday night.

But future cuts to military spending and a freeze on public service programs could hurt the province long-term, he added.

The big bullet Nova Scotia and other provinces dodged was the Harper government not cutting transfer payments to provinces.

“It’s not any big shock what was in the budget,” Corbett told reporters. “There’s no tax increases, no big cuts to expenditures here in Nova Scotia or in Atlantic Canada. In the world we live in today, that’s a good thing.”

But he warned future plans to cut billions from the military will disproportionately affect Nova Scotia.

“We know there’s going to be some kind of impact. How big or how small an impact is fairly difficult to gauge,” he said.

Despite close to $30 million allocated federally for ferry projects, Corbett said there would be no change to the decision to stop subsidizing the CAT ferry between Yarmouth and Maine. He hinted Harper’s decision not to raise taxes could impact the NDP’s choice of whether to hike the HST by two percentage points.

Elsewhere across the province, reaction to the budget was mixed. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce endorsed the plan for its attempts to slow spending growth. They were also happy to see $600 million go to fostering growth and innovation.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees condemned the budget for continuing to lean on the Building Canada Fund. CUPE has frequently attacked that fund because it requires governments to enter into public-private partnerships to qualify for funding. CUPE says it results in a loss of control over public assets.

Mayor echoes deputy premier
HRM Mayor Peter Kelly said he was “relieved and reasonably pleased” with the budget, mostly because it kept up gas tax transfers to cities and GST rebates. But, like Deputy Premier Frank Corbett, Kelly said he expects things to get tougher starting next year.