No one told me about $27 million mistake: Premier says of AG report

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Metro Halifax

Premier Darrell Dexter answers questions at the NDP caucus office on Wednesday.

Premier Darrell Dexter said he was “absolutely not” told about a multi-million discrepancy in the last provincial budget.

The auditor general’s latest annual report reveals revenues were overstated in the 2012-13 budget by $27 million.

Lapointe said Department of Finance officials were informed in February, in plenty of time to adjust the budget – but they opted not to.

“We didn’t get much of an explanation for that,” said Lapointe Wednesday morning.

Lapointe’s report said the Executive Council was briefed about the discrepancy, but he said Wednesday afternoon finance officials briefed the Treasury Board – which includes four members of the Executive Council – on March 28.

Dexter said he had “no recollection” about information concerning a difference, and said it was a function of how budgets are set.

“We get data coming in on budgets every day and at some point you have to cut those points off and say this is the point at which we do all of our budget calculations,” he said.

Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald, who noted she was not finance minister at the time, said the discrepancy was accounted for in the next budget update.

“(The deficit) was projected to be $211 million,” she said. “This would have made it 238, not really that significantly a difference.”

Lapointe said Wednesday the amount of the discrepancy is irrelevant, and accuracy should be the primary concern.

“I don’t like to call $27 million insignificant,” he said. “Up to a cutoff point, every error you know about should be corrected, even the small ones can add up.”

MacDonald said the department has agreed to Lapointe’s recommendation to set a cutoff date after which no new information will be used for budgeting.

Liberal MLA Andrew Younger called the mistake a breach of parliamentary privilege.

“The government has presented a budget…that it knew at the time was false,” he said. “At the end of the day, the premier lied to the people of Nova Scotia.”

PC party leader Jamie Baillie also blasted the NDP for a “fallacy” of a budget.



Organizations: Executive Council, Department of Finance, Treasury Board NDP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Sam
    February 11, 2013 - 07:29

    There was no malice to anyone, Honker, just certain people need to be reminded of POSSIBLE consequences of their remarks if they ever said them to a person's face. Its called getting a badly needed dose of reality. Besides, if it were that offensive I highly DOUBT my remark would have been published!

  • Concerned Citizien
    February 08, 2013 - 17:52

    Johnny I fear there isn't enough room to list the number of places where you have totally lost the plot here son. New party like Alberta and Sask? Get a grip pal. Insulting ex military, are you kidding me? I agree with some of your points though, a labour lawyer and social worker as the CEO and CFO of this province is nuts. Now, put in a CA as the CEO and a CA as the CFO, with similarly qualified people around them, then both Western Nova Scotia will have a real shot at seeing job creation. Does this expose me as a PC supporter? I'd prefer to say, I'd rather take an educated gamble on a couple of guys who have proven themselves in the business world......

  • Sam
    February 08, 2013 - 07:52

    Johnny, that is the first and LAST time you EVER make a deprecating remark about the military around here! You have families of both the maimed and fallen as well as Pictou County people serving in the military who read this newspaper. Go up to them and call them trough feeders, I am sure it would work out very badly for you!

    • honker
      February 09, 2013 - 11:44

      Johnny has as much right to comment as you, Sam. What gives you the right to threaten and bully someone because you don't like his comment? Freedom was fought for and won, including freedom of expression without fear of intimidation, and physical threats, something apparently you don't understand. Think!

  • POD Taxpayer
    February 07, 2013 - 16:18

    27 million seems really significant to me. When there's over bid tenders for school construction, and land being purchased all over the province for millions, I think that 27 million means a LOT!!!!! Darrell and his band of merry followers should be ready to sit in the back seats again. Election can't come soon enough!!!

  • NoFool
    February 07, 2013 - 13:32

    Mr Premier......I would suggest that you immediately fire your staff for not telling you about this. Your deputy minister of finance- should have told your deputy minister in their weekly meeting. Your Minister of Finance's EA should have told your EA....incompetence is running this province.

  • Observer
    February 07, 2013 - 09:45

    The sweeping out the NDPgovernment can start with Pictou County voters. Their incompetence and unaccountability is clearly demonstrated in this Story. Was the auditor's report not at some point approved by the NDP, and from his own mouth we can gather that Dexter never read the report. Obvously, the Minister of Finance has been derelict in her duties if she did not bring it to his attention. Nut then why should she? In her mind, a $27 Million overstatement of Revenues is not a Significant amount. reduce the NDP re-election campaign fund by $27 millionn the next election and I wonder if her mindset might change. Th fact that four members of the Premie's '" inner-most circle, the Executive Council" failed to inform the Premier. highlights the fact that he surrounds himself with incompetency. A thorough house-cleaning is in order. It is time for Nova Scotians to recognize that their experiment with socially-based politics has bee a complete failure. Sweep the house clean.

  • Concerned Citizen
    February 07, 2013 - 09:09

    Wondering where all the NDP sympathizers are on this one? Paging Tim Rhude? Johnny Smoke? Surely you have spoken to MacKinnon and he is "behind the people" on this one and "encouraged" by your interest just as in the school fiasco. Folks, a private enterprise, whether it be for profit or non profit, wouldn't hire a social worker to work as it's CFO. This is why.

    • Johnny smoke
      February 07, 2013 - 17:20

      Holy cow I have been insulted and then I have been insulted, me an N.D.P. supporter? a Tory or a Liberal supporter not in this life time, and I will tell you why. They all depend on running ex civil service,ex military, ex school board, in other words trough snuffers. Their aim and their aim only is to get their noses and any other part of their anatomy that will fit into the taxpayers pocket. Ever wonder why nothing really changes, well when you have the same old staff, feeding the same old stuff, the only thing that can change is the time on the clock. What we need here is what they have in Alberta and Saskatchewan a totally new party with no hangers on looking for something to do after they retire with a comfortable government pension.If that applies so be it, I for one will not be voting until we get rid of the old and come up with some new faces and new ideas. Not to do so is suicide .Just the thought of a premier who was a labor lawyer, and a finance minister who was a hand holder is enough for this poor old fellow to through up his hands, and to think that they are all backed up by a highly paid public service who cannot count. I wonder if 10% of their pay cheques went missing would they notice? I think not, not for one teeny second.

  • JOE
    February 07, 2013 - 08:48

    Pretty sure an 11% error is a significant amount there

  • Tax Payer
    February 07, 2013 - 08:47

    It seems no matter what comes out ,Dexter doesn't know anything about it, but if it looks like votes he will take credit , if it's the trurh, he knows nothing about it, what a leader !!!!! How can he stand in front of the public and not admit that he is the one responsible and stand up like a leader, not like someone who knows nothing . Come on Darrell , call an election !!!

  • JT
    February 07, 2013 - 08:34

    I think we all learned something having this government. When's the next election?

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 07, 2013 - 08:21

    And now we'll play a special selection for all you gullible voters out there. It's an oldie from the Richard Nixon era and now digitally reproduced on the new NDP Swan Song Album. Its titled "I am not a crook..I am just not good with math"

  • sueb
    February 07, 2013 - 07:59

    "Nobody told me" is bull - nothing happens in this province without the premier being the first or one of the first to know and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. Even if it were true that he wasn't told it still points to a decided lack of control. Heads should roll over this one, starting with the Finance Minister's, and if not it tells me that he did know and is in fact a liar.

  • Sam
    February 07, 2013 - 07:53

    "at some point you have to cut those points off and say this is the point at which we do all of our budget calculations" Thanks for clearing that all up Dexter. You must have been coached by Chretien with his golf balls illustrating what he called "proofs!"

  • M
    February 07, 2013 - 07:08

    you've got to be joking right? I thing 27 million is pretty significant. Terminations are in order...... not significant my foot.....