THUNDER BAY – “Ontario is on track,” stated Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro. “Our budget has no tax increases, specific benefits for the North, and focuses on needed change in the delivery of social services”. Mauro, the incumbent Liberal MPP is confident that the Ontario Budget released earlier today is right for the North, and right for Ontario.
Minister Michael Gravelle says, ““This year’s budget provides a strong framework for continued growth and prosperity in Thunder Bay-Superior North and all across northern Ontario. Continued investment in the north is vital to protect the gains we made in health care, education and economic development, as we strive to move forward with the many opportunities our natural resources and skilled workforce offers us.”
Ontario Budget – Liberals Enthused – PCs Not!
“The solutions to Ontario’s problems aren’t hard to figure out, they’re just not easy to do,” stated Tim Hudak, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader. “The only way to put Ontario on the right track is a new team with a new plan and the courage to put it into action”.
“Too many people in Ontario are having trouble finding work and losing hope in our great province,” Hudak added. “Yet today the Liberal Government chose to continue down a path that will only dig the hole deeper for Ontarians.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Looked for Infrastructure Funding
Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Harvey Yesno states he had been looking for funding for regional infrastructure. “We need to build regional roads, and extend the grid,” commented the Grand Chief.
“The remote north needs greater investment in infrastructure, not just the Ring of Fire”.
Grand Chief Yesno adds that while there is funding there for education, that First Nations have identified areas in education and training but that Oskhi is not in the Ontario Government’s funding envelope.
The NAN Grand Chief is also looking for more details on the funding for health outlined in the budget.
Kenora PCs Not Enthused
Kenora Riding Progressive Conservative candidate Randy Nickle is less enthusiastic. “Today in Toronto, an Ontario Liberal Budget that fails to invest in the future of Northern Ontario continues to drive the Province into debt and mortgage our grandchildren’s future was announced,” commented Nickel.
“It is great that the budget invests in Northern and Rural roads and bridges, but how sad that the new Premier made that announcement from Barrie? Where was the investment in the TransCanada twinning of the Trans Canada Highway from Manitoba to Kenora? Where is the support for our Toursim Centres that were closed down last year? I would like to ask where are the good jobs coming from and when? Where is the real commitment to get mines opened and the economy going here? Where was the leadership on Northern concerns?” Randy Nickle ON PC candidate
“The NDP “asks” while noble in spirit may not translate well here. My focus is Kenora Rainy River and if auto insurance rates go up here to create saving in the South, then I think our MPP has some explaining to do.”
Harold Wilson – PC Thunder Bay Atikokan
In Thunder Bay Atikokan, PC candidate Harold Wilson states, “Like so many in the Province, I was following the hints and announcements strewn out over the past week, starting with the $100 million fund announced last Friday for roads and bridges in Northern and rural Ontario, that is supposed to kick in sometime in October.
“To stave off defeat last election, they blew money on the gas plants in Southern Ontario. Now to stave off their imminent defeat, they have thrown our money at, and tied our future to the entire list of NDP demands. And now their leader, Andrea Horwath wants to wait for details. That could be months!,” complains Wilson.
“Ontario needs a government that has a plan to reduce spending, reduce excessive red tape, create jobs and the courage to implement it, “continued Wilson. This continuation of Dalton McGuinty’s plan won’t do it”.
The New Democrats are planning to discuss and share the budget with Ontarians, and then make a decision on supporting the budget document, or not.
If the Liberals do not get the support of the New Democrats, Ontario is headed to an election. The Wynne Government is in a minority position in the Ontario Legislature.
Ontario’s 2013 Budget — A Prosperous and Fair Ontario —makes smart investments that will help strengthen the economy and create jobs, while taking action to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.
The 2013 Ontario Budget includes:
- A Youth Jobs Strategy that invests $295 million over 2 years to create jobs, mentorship opportunities and promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
- $100 million Infrastructure Fund for Small, Rural and Northern Municipalities for roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure.
- $260 million this year to expand Home and Community Care, so more people receive it faster and in the comfort of their own homes.
- Reducing auto insurance rates by 15% on average for 9 million drivers.
- Taking steps to transform social assistance to help more recipients find jobs and improve their financial security.
- Providing tax relief for small businesses to create more jobs by increasing their Employer Health Tax exemption from $400,000 to $450,000 of payroll.
“The single most important thing we can do to ensure our province’s long-term prosperity, and protect key public services like health care and education, is balance the budget,” states Mauro. “This year’s budget includes key investments to create jobs, strengthen key public services, while keeping the province on track to eliminating the deficit. There are a lot of important investments that could benefit people in Thunder Bay and throughout the Northwest. It’s a balanced approach that contains good ideas from all parties. I think people in my riding don’t want an election. They want to see the 3 parties cooperate to make government work—so I hope the Opposition parties will work with us to bring this Budget forward.”
Northern Ontario Budget Items
The Budget also includes commitments to: <ul
- Funding for Atikokan General Hospital’s construction and renovations to upgrade inpatient facilities.
- Introduction of virtual connections and e-consultations to enhance Northerners access to health care services.
- Widening Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon.
- $360 million investment Northern Industrial Electricity rate, extending the program for a 3 year period starting in 2013-14.
- Maintaining $100 million annually in NOHFC funding.
“The new government is committed to helping all the people of Ontario and to eliminating the deficit by 2017-18. By beating our fiscal targets, we can continue to invest in the things that matter most to people every day. We are protecting health care and education. We are creating job opportunities for youth. Our balanced approach to strengthening the economy will help create jobs and build a prosperous and fair Ontario for all,” comments Charles Sousa, the Minister of Finance.