In Budget 2015, the NDP government presents two different sets of numbers for future oil prices. With every $3 swing worth a half-billion dollars, incorrect forecasting has serious implications on our future.
Fact: The key assumptions, which are used to calculate revenues, appear to draw oil futures from two different places depending on the year, and are not provided at all beyond 2017-18.
Fact: In previous budgets, there was a number to the penny that showed a weighted average between the Ministry of Treasury Board and Finance’s calendar estimates and the fiscal year adjustment. Here we have apparently hand-picked round numbers.
Fact: The government predicts record revenues in years 4 and 5 to magically balance the budget, but doesn’t even try to show any of the assumptions that is based on.
It appears that the NDP government is picking and choosing which futures numbers to use to suit their needs – its own estimate for this year, and a higher average number for the next two years. If this is some kind of coincidence, Finance Minister Joe Ceci must explain it.
In addition to clearing up this apparent discrepancy, the Finance Minister must show us the assumptions that raise revenues 26 per cent over the next five years he uses to make his fiscal plan balance.
The NDP needs to come clean with their calculations and use a consistent set of oil prices for budgeting purposes.