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Prince Edward Island passes largest-ever provincial operating budget


The Prince Edward Island government passed the largest-ever provincial operating budget Tuesday, on the last day of the legislative session.

The house sat until midnight Friday in an attempt to pass the $3.2 billion budget, that includes an $85 million dollar deficit.

Opposition MLAs took their time going through budget deliberations. In the end, given how few seats they hold, there was little they could have done to stop it.

The lack of cohesiveness over the budget was indicative of what has been a fiery session, as old allies traded barbs.

One such exchange happened back March 5.

“Is this the sort of openness and transparency you had in mind all those years ago when I had faith in you,” said Green MLA Peter Bevan-Baker, at the time.

“He’s out there making wide innuendos about things he knows are wrong,” replied King.

The tone change came after five years of somewhat unprecedented cooperation between government and opposition members on the island.

“The name calling and so forth does degrade the dignity of the house,” said Don Desserud, a University of Prince Edward Island political science expert.

“The problem is that this is not new. It’s been like this before, and seems to be like that again, but there was that time, that glimmer of hope, that they were moving beyond that."

According to Desserud, that seems to be abandoned now.

Opposition parties said they felt the difference, with the Greens going as far as to call it bullying.

“When the premier was challenged by Peter Bevan-Baker he, rather than go back and fall back to your policy, which is what you’re supposed to do in here, he got personal,” said Karla Bernard, leader of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island.

“Collaboration left when this PC government had majority,” said Hal Perry, leader Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island.

King won a strong majority, 22 of 27 seats, in 2023. After a recent by-election, the Tories hold 21.

Deputy Premier Bloyce Thompson contests the idea collaboration is dead, despite a lack of opposition bills making it through the house.

“I hope that this fall we can work on some private members’ bills, if they wish to, and we can collaborate to get those through,” said Thompson.

He said Tory votes are not dictated by party rule; some backbenchers voted in favour of some opposition bills.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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