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N.S. government defends itself against budget accusations


The Nova Scotia government is defending itself against accusations from the auditor general that it knowingly delivered a budget last spring that was off by 27 million dollars.

In his annual report on the province’s finances, Jacques Lapointe says the government’s spring budget included a deficit forecast of 211 million dollars for 2012-13.

But Lapointe says his office was advised prior to the budget’s release that the deficit was actually 238 million dollars.

He says the error was significant enough to be corrected.

The updated figure was included in Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald’s post-budget fiscal update in September.

MacDonald says the public wasn’t deliberately misled.

But she refuses to say whether the government knew the numbers were wrong ahead of time.

In explaining the discrepancy, she says staff do budget calculations based on information that is constantly changing.

After the report was released yesterday, Premier Darrell Dexter rejected Lapointe’s assertion that his cabinet was informed of the error before approving the estimates.