On March 27th, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell entered the provincial budget lock-up, expecting to see a plan for creating jobs and ensuring economic growth.
McDonell could not hide his disappointment with this year’s budget which has spending up over $1.8 billion and no appreciable reduction in last year’s horrendous deficit of $15.3 billion.
“How could this Liberal government be pleased to promote a deficit for 2012 that’s three times the combined deficits of all the other provinces and ten times larger than that of Quebec’s, who are in second place!”
“We’ve had plenty of tough talk, but no tough decisions. To make things worse, many of the budget’s predictions are best-case scenarios, and rely on either public sector union’s good will or Dalton McGuinty’s spine.”
“Spending is up in most ministries and we are heading towards, what Liberal economist Don Drummond warned against, a 30 billion dollar deficit and 411 billion dollars in total debt by 2017. That equates to a debt of 30,000 dollars for every man, woman and child in Ontario.”
“The National Post predicts that there will be 30,000 less jobs in the province due to the job-killing tax policies outlined in the budget.”
McDonell had unflattering words for the budget’s lack of a clear jobs plan. “The Minister of
Finance stood in the Chamber and told 600,000 unemployed Ontarians ‘We’ll talk about it’.”
“The Jobs and Prosperity Council proposal is as empty as it is upsetting. Those unemployed Ontarians who want to see strong action on job creation don’t need more hot air and appointees patting each other on the back.”
“Look around the province; it’s the small businesses that drive development and employment. They need help to create jobs by reducing their fiscal burden and scrapping bad energy policies as a start.”
The need for austerity has been highlighted well in advance of this year’s budget by numerous stakeholders, economists, the Auditor General and Government Commissions such as the Drummond Commission.
There was a clear shared message of getting spending under control. McDonell commented: “The sheer amount of data and proposals on the table, including our own from the PC Caucus, could have enabled the government to make this budget a turning point in Ontario’s history. Instead, this budget doesn’t reduce spending, takes no tough action and has no vision for long-term job creation. I will join the PC Caucus in not supporting it. Ontarians deserve better”