Certainly compared to four years ago we're worse off - everybody is. Though as you can see from the first article I was predicting a recession, I think very few suspected it would be such a nasty world-wide recession, one that has lingered and keeps generating financial shocks like a bad case of reflux. The one good thing about it is that it's kept interest rates at historically low levels, allowing the government to keep interest payments about where they've been for the past decade, and costing even fewer cents on the government dollar. But it meant a pretty big runup of debt to match stimulus spending by the feds and the effect on stock and bond markets has done nasty things to the funds for the government pension funds. Again that's hit everyone.
Beyond that, PEI is probably a bit worse off relative to other provinces than we were at that point in terms of public finances, for a couple of reasons. One is that we've been disadvantaged more by moves the feds have undertaken with respect to transfers. They have ratcheted the growth levles of these down, and the other moves they've made there (like moving to per capita cash transfers) hurt the poorer provinces more. And of course since these transfers play a bigger part in our finances than other provinces that gets magnified yet again.
The second thing is more of our own choosing. The province went ahead four years ago with the big investment (borrowed) they came up with in the prosperity initiative. That's added a good chunk to our debt, which at the moment isn't a huge problem with interest rates so low, but does mean that they will have to find more revenue if interest rates do rise in the future. Of course if the plan works (and I haven't seen a whole lot in the way of results yet) it might be worthwhile and generate funds to pay for it. but at this point that's still an if.
Some of the slippage, in particular with the moves by the feds and the pension funds, has happened in the past year, so I don't think I'd be quite as rosy in my outlook (though I wouldn't say I was being rosy in any case, more like not quite panicking) as I was a year ago. I think the ability of the government to move back to balance just by ratcheting down stimulus and prosperity spending and holding the line on program spending took a hit and as the government recognized with their last budget they need to cut spending even more and raise revenues, which they seem to have plans to do.
So things are worse, and we're going to have to go through some pain the next few years (a more difficult path if you like), but I think there's still a way to go before we're looking at bankruptcy. I think there are a few provinces like Ontario and New Brunswick that are a lot further from a credible possibility of balancing their budgets than we are. The bond-rating agencies and some of the bank economists said basically the same thing earlier this summer in another story I got a brief mention in:http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local ... ade-DBRS/1
I would discount anything they put into my mouth in that last one, as opposed to the direct quotes. I don't recall describing the situation as "relatively healthy", unless you put a lot of emphasis on the relatively.