Nunavut budget: Finance minister wants Ottawa to fund infrastructure projects – by Bob Weber (Winnipeg Free Press – February 22, 2017)

The Canadian Press – IQALUIT, Nunavut – Nunavut’s finance minister used his budget speech Wednesday to ask the federal government for more money to fund infrastructure projects that will help the territory pay more of its own bills. “We know that the federal government is open to projects that make a difference in people’s lives,” said the text of Keith Peterson’s speech, his ninth budget address.

Peterson said the territory will post a minuscule surplus in 2017-18 of $2 million on revenues of $1.98 billion — essentially a balanced budget. But he warned that’s due to federal transfers, which are responsible for all but $200 million of the Nunavut government’s income. Those revenues are expected to grow more slowly in the future, he said.

Increases in the territorial financing formula are to shrink to three per cent annually from five per cent. Health transfer money is to fall to three per cent from six per cent. “In the future, we should expect federal funding increases to be very modest.”‘

Peterson said that despite low commodity prices, Nunavut’s mining industry is showing signs of healthy growth. Two gold mines and an iron mine are now producing and several others are moving forward.

The Conference Board of Canada predicts 4.9 per cent growth for Nunavut this year, outpacing the Canadian average.

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