Fraser Institute News Release: New Brunswick’s Blain Higgs ranks highest for fiscal management among recent and current Canadian premiers

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Among recent and current Canadian premiers, New Brunswick’s Blain Higgs ranks highest for managing provincial finances, while Newfoundland and Labrador’s Andrew Furey ranks 10th, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Sound fiscal policy is a crucial driver of economic well-being for Canadians, and the premier sets the direction of a government,” said Jake Fuss, associate director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada's Premiers.

The study ranks Canadian premiers (seven current and four former) based on three fiscal policy categories: government spending, taxes, and deficits and debt up to the fiscal year 2021/22. Premiers who managed spending more prudently, balanced their budgets and paid down debt, and reduced or maintained competitive tax rates ranked higher.

Overall, Higgs ranked first in overall fiscal performance with a score of 75.8 out of 100. Higgs specifically ranked first on government spending, and on the measure of debt and deficits, having been the only premier who ran surpluses and paid down the province’s debt during the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Higgs is followed by Manitoba’s former Premier Brian Pallister (63.8), who stepped down in September 2021, but was still included in the analysis.

Ontario’s Doug Ford (60.6) placed third, followed by Nova Scotia’s recent former premiers Stephen McNeil and Iain Rankin (60.4) and British Columbia’s John Horgan (56.1).

“All premiers have room for improvement and given the importance of sound fiscal policy, they all should look to prioritize restraint in spending, balanced budgets, lowering debt levels and establishing a more competitive provincial tax system,” Fuss said.

Blain Higgs (NB)1
Brian Pallister (MB)2
Doug Ford (ON)3
Stephen McNeil/Ian Rankin (NS)4
John Horgan (BC)5
Jason Kenney (AB)6
Dennis King (PEI)7
François Legault (QC)8
Scott Moe (SK)9
Andrew Furey (NL)10

Jake Fuss, Associate Director, Fiscal Studies
Fraser Institute

Alex Whalen, Senior Economist
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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