Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau made the rounds promoting Liberal government’s recently released budget on Wednesday.
Speaking on MainStreet, Morneau said the budget, which includes a deficit of about $30 billion, should help most people in the province.
“We’re really trying to make a difference for middle class Canadians as they face up to the real challenge of raising children, and we know that will make a difference all across Saskatchewan,” he said.
The budget had been criticized for leaving many oil-producing areas in southern Saskatchewan out of an expansion of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
“It does mean that in some areas that have been harder-hit they are going to have an employment insurance situation where they get five additional weeks. It does not apply everywhere in the country,” said Morneau.
Morneau said the Liberals do have a plan to get federal finances out of the red.
“If we’re prudent right now we can get to a balanced budget within about five years, if we have the growth that we want to have,” he said.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall blasted the budget shortly after it was released for failing to return about $570 million in equalization money to the province.
“Dealing with the equalization system is something we’d have to do in collaboration with all provinces and it’s not on our agenda for right now,” Morneau said. .