OPINION: Will budgets have goodies for the Humboldt region?

This week is budget week, both federally and provincially.

By the time you’re reading this, most of the contents of the budget will be released (we’ll have details on our website), but as I write this, I don’t know a lot anout what will be in the budget.

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Provincially, I’ll be very surprised if the budget isn’t balanced. Every time I’ve talked to local MLA and finance minister Donna Harpauer, she’s made it perfectly clear that’s her goal.

I’m hoping to see some money for work on Highway 5, especially that stretch between the junction of Highway 2 and Saskatoon. There’s many from Humboldt that travel up and down that road every day. The lack of a shoulder and the abundance of sloughs is a disaster waiting to happen for motorists – a disaster that has happened, for some.

I’m also curious to see if we’ll see the results of the review of libraries in this province. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about it since an online public survey was released, so I’m wondering if the budget will reveal a new structure for libraries that, lo and behold, costs the province less money to fund.

The federal budget, on the other hand, is going to focus on why the federal Liberals should be reelected in October. Experts are saying more tax revenue than expected has been generated over the last year, so expect some goodies that will form the basis of an election campaign.

CBC is reporting one of the features of the federal budget is a multi-year plan to ensure all Canadians have high-speed internet by 2030, which is something that this region will need to participate in a modern economy. I’d be interested in seeing the details of such a plan, if it indeed exists.

There’s also reportedly plans for the beginnings of a new pharmacare program, more money into skills training and a program to help young people buy their first home. Again, we’ll have to see what the details are.

In the end, I – like most people – will measure the two budgets by whether or not it will improves life for me and the people in and around Humboldt.

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