It’s budget day in Nunavut

The Book of Numbers

The Book of Numbers

Keith Peterson, Nunavut’s finance minister, rose in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut earlier today to give his maiden budget speech and to table the GN’s operation and maintenance budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Nunavut MLAs actually voted to approve about one-third of that budget this past March. But this is the first time the GN will expose its financial position to sustained public scrutiny.

Your humble content provider thought he would never catch himself saying this, but compared with most other provincial and territorial governments, the GN finds itself in an enviable position.

They expect to take in $1.22 billion and spend about $1.25 billion. That adds up to a small deficit of only $29.1 million, about the same as their projected $28.4 million deficit for the previous 2008-09 fiscal year.

But why am I telling you all this? You can find the relevant summaries here.

Interesting factoid: for the first quarter of 2009, Nunavut was the only province or territory in Canada where retail spending rose — by 3.3 per cent.

“Even in the face of the current economic crisis, Nunavummiut have continued to outspend other Canadians on retail merchandise.

So says an economic outlook report that’s attached to the budget speech.

Other highlights include:

  • a whopping $300 million plus in capital spending — this includes $120.8 million that’s already been approved, plus another $80 million or so carried over from last year, close to $100 million in social housing construction, plus federal stimulus handouts that are still under negotiation;
  • $8.5 million more for health care, include $1.3 million more for battered women’s shelters — the rest goes towards out-of-territory medical patients;
  • $2 million to train GN employees;
  • $8.6 million to start implementing the Education Act, the Official Languages Act and the Inuit Languages Protection Act;
  • a tax credit to help businesses recover the cost of training people;
  • $2 million on a “Nunavut presence” at the Vancouver Olympics.
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