Source: The Canadian Press

New Brunswick Premier David Alward isn’t ruling out an increase in some taxes in order to tackle the province’s woeful finances, months after he campaigned on a promise not to do that.

After the first question period of the legislature’s fall session on Wednesday, Alward reiterated his promise not to hike the harmonized sales tax. But when pressed by reporters, he would not rule out increases in other taxes such as the gas tax.

“The last thing I want to see is raising taxes in New Brunswick, but right now we’re starting the budget process and we’ll have a dialogue with New Brunswickers,” the Tory premier said.

The previous Liberal government cut the gas tax by 3.8 cents a litre after they were elected in 2006.

Opposition Liberal Leader Victor Boudreau wouldn’t say if he would support increasing the tax now to boost revenues.

“When we’ve seen their plan, then we’ll be able to comment if there are areas where we think it should or shouldn’t be done or some adjustments can be made,” Boudreau said. “But until we see that balanced approach it’s difficult to get into any one specific area.”

In question period, Boudreau said the throne speech Tuesday only contains new spending measures and doesn’t have any plan to tackle the deficit. But Alward blamed the previous Liberal government for the financial problems his government faces.

During the election campaign that saw the Conservatives win by a landslide in September, taking 42 seats in the 55-seat legislature, Alward promised to stabilize the province’s finances “without raising taxes or reducing services.”

In recent days, the government has warned that the deficit could exceed $1 billion as early as next year if nothing is done to get spending under control.

Alward has ordered government departments to find savings and said New Brunswickers will be asked for their suggestions on how to reduce the deficit and debt during budget consultations.