THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Budget has passed in Queen’s Park. Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River, is welcoming today’s successful passing of Bill 55. Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says “An unneccesary election was avoided”.
“The bill that passed third and final reading today, is significantly improved from the one that was introduced in April”, says Campbell. “Over the past two months, I have spoken to thousands of people across the riding and the message was clear, the budget that was introduced fell well short of the budget needed to move this province forward,” she notes. “Through consultation and a dedication to work with the government, we have delivered on our goal of improving the document. It may not contain everything we would like to see, but that is the nature of compromise, you have to be willing to give and take.”
The Progressive Conservatives are less pleased. “Ontarians deserve better than the political sideshow of threats and counter-threats dominating the past week – all at the expense of action to rein in this government’s chronic overspending and kick-start job creation”, stated party leader Tim Hudak.
The Liberal budget passed at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, after the New Democrats abstained from voting.
Premier McGuinty stated, “It’s not just a matter of confidence in our government. It’s bigger than that. It’s a matter of confidence in our economy. Our Budget is crucial to the livelihood of our province and Ontario families. Protecting services families rely on, like health care and education, depends on it. And the confidence of credit rating agencies and markets around the world hinges on it”.
“These are significant and real changes we have made. Not only did we make the budget more democratic by ensuring the public was able to participate in the process, we helped ensure oversights are in place to make government agencies more accountable and transparent,” said Campbell. “I am happy that we were able to pass the budget, but disappointed that the Liberals and Conservatives joined forces to push through some privatization measures without consultation or any real transparency as to what their plans are”.
“Ontario is a better place than we have seen over the past seven days,” Hudak commented. “Sadly, it is also a poorer place. Eight months since the last election and not a penny saved. Instead, the overspending continues, when we need urgent action to get our fiscal house in order. The more we delay, the more our debt piles up – putting at risk the sustainability of priorities Ontarians care most about – such as quality health care and excellence in education.”