Oil slump means break from tradition in Saskatchewan budget: finance minister

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s finance minister is sporting brown leather shoes that he says represent the provincial budget’s break from tradition.

Ken Krawetz said he usually wears black shoes, but his wife bought him the new pair for the budget’s release on Wednesday.

He said the government is facing a loss in oil revenue of around $700 million, so a balanced budget requires changes in how the province spends money.

“It’s been trying, there’s no question,” he said.

Premier Brad Wall has said this budget is the most challenging his government has had to put together.

Krawetz agreed and added he expects it to be his last budget since he isn’t going to seek re-election. He said the outlook has changed since September.

“We were still looking at a very positive price of a barrel of oil on the horizon and we knew we would have to tighten things up,” he said. “But as each month went by we were faced with much more difficult challenges.”

NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon presented a pair of shoes to the media that he said symbolize the government’s vanity.

The Opposition cut out the soles on a pair of black, shiny second-hand shoes to represent what Wotherspoon said is a lack of substance in government policies.

“It’s been all a focus on the vanity projects, the pet projects, it’s time this government starts to focus on what matters,” he said. “And to get the basics right, in kids’ classrooms, in seniors care, in health care and in making life a little bit more affordable for Saskatchewan families.”