Feds raise NWT borrowing limit by $500 million in 2015 budget

Bob McLeod with Stephen Harper
File photo of Bob McLeod with Stephen Harper.
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The 2015 federal budget was revealed in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon and so too was the Northwest Territories’ new borrowing limit.

Upon Governor in Council approval, it’s proposed that the borrowing limit for the NWT be increased from $800 million to $1.3 billion.

Calling it the most critical issue facing the territory, NWT finance minister Michael Miltenberger had originally hoped to increase it by $1 billion, bringing the territorial limit to $1.8 billion.

Earlier this year, Premier Bob McLeod said a greater borrowing capacity would allow for more investment in infrastructure and help the territory’s economy grow.

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Read: NWT Budget: Money For Now But A Tougher Outlook Ahead

While Moose FM hasn’t been able to reach the GNWT for comment, Northwest Territories MP Dennis Bevington welcomed Tuesday’s announcement.

“It matches up very closely with my private members bill in 2011 when I asked for 70% of the government’s budget in the Northwest Territories.

“We all know how important that borrowing limit is for us to move ahead as a territory. We need to have the ability to invest.

“This is not the government handing us any money, this is the government giving us tools to work with that they should have done a long time ago.

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“I worked hard on this issue of getting the borrowing limit up in Parliament because that was really a problem in the NWT Act, since it limited the borrowing capacity of the government so I’m glad to see it.”

Bevington had a word of caution for the 18th NWT Assembly however, saying it too will likely have to ask Ottawa for more cash as the territory looks to advance projects like the Mackenzie Valley Highway.

Ottawa last raised the territory’s borrowing limit in 2012, before devolution took place.

Read: Budget 2015: Increasing Borrowing Limits For The Northwest Territories And Nunavut

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