New Glasgow – Rustico-Emerald MLA and Opposition Finance Critic Brad Trivers has concerns about how crop insurance premiums paid by Island farmers are being accounted for in the financial statements of the province.
“Crop insurance premiums are paid by Island farmers to be used against claims they incur during the course of their business in a bad year. It’s not there to be to massaged on a government ledger in an election year,” says Trivers.
Trivers notes that in the Public Accounts documents for the 2017/18 fiscal year released by the province last week the Agricultural Insurance Corporation showed a profit of $44 million, largely due to insurance premiums paid by Island farmers. This revenue is for use by producers in the event of insurance claims against lost crops yet is being counted as government revenue towards its larger financial obligations.
Trivers likened the practice to the federal government’s use of unpaid Employment Insurance premiums to improve its financial position.
“For years workers and employers paid more in Employment Insurance premiums than was paid out in benefits with the federal government pocketing tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The way that government is accounting for crop insurance revenues is raising concerns that government may be using a similar financial sleight of hand with insurance premiums from Island farmers,” says Trivers.