NDP Leader Earle McCurdy is one of many today, saying the new Fiscal Update “confirms the Liberal budget shrank the economy” and that the update fails to provide any reassurances to the people of the province.

“In this year’s budget speech, the Liberals pledged measures that would shrink the economy and result in job loss, and that is happening as promised,” said McCurdy.

“We’ve been able to get some reversal on some of the poorer decisions in the original plan – the levy, the libraries cuts, and the Black Tickle nurse – but the fact remains that the 2016 budget and today’s fiscal update show nothing more than they’re doing an accounting exercise rather than developing a comprehensive economic plan for the province.”

Personal bankruptcies are up 31% since last year, McCurdy pointed out, and food bank use has also increased, according to workers in the field.

Meanwhile, just last week, Steve Kent, the Official Opposition Critic for Business, was critiquing the Ball Liberals for raising a host of taxes and fees while cutting tax credits, like the Manufacturing and Processing Tax Credit that helped make small businesses competitive.

Kent said this rendered local small businesses less competitive, while leaving “many of their customers without the cash or the confidence to spend in their enterprises … Small businesses operating at the margins of profitability were pushed over the edge while others had to downsize, costing jobs and opportunities.”

Kent says that “without any clear sense of what’s coming, consumers have reined in their spending while businesses have put off investments, sinking our already-fragile economy into a deep freeze.”

“When urged by our Caucus to cut taxes in order to stimulate growth, Premier Ball mocked us. What he and his fellow Liberals don’t seem to understand is that, when a government’s policies ‎decimate the small business sector, as the Ball Liberal policies have done, the entire province suffers a loss of economic activity, revenue, growth opportunities and jobs.