QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is seeking the agreement of the New Democrats to keep his minority government alive. The Premier has released a letter he has sent to the New Democrat leader.
Here is the text:
June 17, 2012
Dear Ms. Horwath:
Throughout the Budget process, we have been grateful for the ideas you and your party brought forward in order to arrive at a bill we could pass together.
Getting the government’s Budget passed is important for economic stability. The Budget provides the foundation for the government’s economic and fiscal plan — a plan that will keep Ontario’s economy growing and ensure the government stays on track to a balanced budget.
Since the Budget bill’s introduction in March, we have twice found the common ground our two parties needed in order to live up to the expectations of Ontario families. You asked for certain changes in the Budget bill, and we agreed to make them. We asked you not to block passage of the Budget bill, and you agreed in exchange for some non-budget-related procedural requests.
On the basis of those two agreements, I believed — and more importantly, Ontario families clearly understood — the Budget bill would pass. But to my surprise and disappointment, your party began to dismantle the very Budget bill you personally agreed to see pass. Several key provisions were defeated on Thursday and your party has given notice that many more are at risk tomorrow and Tuesday.
The Budget bill must remain intact not only to fulfill our agreements, but more importantly, to provide the tools required to eliminate the deficit, grow the economy and create jobs.
The good news is we have an opportunity to get the Budget bill back on track. You need only ensure your caucus lives up to the agreements you have already made.
Specifically, I ask you to commit yourself and your party, in writing, to not alter the intent or block passage of any more schedules of the Budget bill before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. As to whether an amendment alters the intent of a schedule, or even the Budget itself, is something my representatives are prepared to determine as early as today upon your request.
And, of course, I will also need your written assurance that you will not block passage of the Budget bill in the legislature.
In the fall session, we plan to reintroduce, by way of a bill, those schedules to the Budget your party voted down on Thursday. This bill will include schedule 19, concerning the Endangered Species Act. As you know, our government and your party have both proposed improvements to this particular schedule and I am confident we can work together on these improvements. I also ask that you provide your assurance, in writing, that you will not, as per our agreements, block this bill to be made up of schedule 19 and the five schedules your party voted down on Thursday.
I look forward to receiving your written commitments in keeping with the foregoing at the earliest possible opportunity so that the Budget bill can proceed unimpeded by your party before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and in the legislature on Wednesday.
I know that by working together and honouring the agreements we had already entered into, we can get Ontario’s Budget bill back on track. This is what Ontarians want and expect of us — and it is the necessary action to give Ontario’s economy the stability it needs to continue to grow in a turbulent global economy.
Please accept my best wishes.