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Liberal budget hurts Ontario families

(March 2, 2016) Last Thursday the Kathleen Wynne Liberals delivered the province's 2016 budget and it was a disappointment, to say the least.

As I told our local media that day, life is going to get harder thanks to the Liberals.

The Ontario PC Caucus simply can't support a budget that is unaffordable, uncompetitive and unsustainable for Ontarians.

After 13 years of reckless spending, the Wynne Liberals are balancing the books on the backs of our students, our families and our seniors. That's just wrong.

It's really disheartening to see how out of touch this government is with all corners of our province.

We continue to have very serious concerns about the credibility of the government's numbers. On that note, I want to point out that with this Liberal budget it is the first time Ontario's debt will exceed $300-billion. If that number alarms you, well it should, because you and I are on the hook for this fiscal mismanagement.

The Fraser Institute has confirmed that Ontario is so deeply in debt that any rise in interest rates would vaporize the plans for a balanced budget in 2017-2018.

The Liberals will tell you they are balancing the budget, but they will fail to tell Ontarians that tax revenue will rise by more than $3-billion to pay for their scandal, waste and mismanagement.

This government is not looking out for your interests. I can't stress that enough.

The Liberals have no credible plan to address the unaffordable hydro rates that Ontarians deal with each month. Government mismanagement has meant that hydro in Ontario is much more expensive than it should be for businesses and families. I hear this complaint from constituents – many who are business owners – on a regular basis.

As for the Liberals' cap-and-trade plan, it's nothing but a tax-grab to pay for their waste and bungling. This plan puts a new tax on everything from home heating, to gasoline, and it will make life more unaffordable for Ontarians.

Furthermore, the Liberals have provided no details on how much their plan will reduce emissions to protect the environment. The government's plan is a betrayal of the good will of people who want to help the environment.

In the area of health care, this budget fell far short. There are no plans for more long-term care beds or physiotherapy services for seniors. This budget makes medication more expensive for Ontario seniors who are already struggling to make ends meet. The Liberals are boasting they have increased funding for hospitals, but they fail to tell you that cuts they've already made are causing longer wait times for surgeries, doctor appointments and emergency room visits. Next time you visit your doctor, ask what they think of this government.

Meanwhile, on the education front, we see more setbacks. The government is cancelling the Tuition and Education Tax Credit two years before they bring in the new Ontario Student Grant. As a result, college and university students will be out $165-million. Let me be clear, we support improving access to education, however, 70 percent of Ontario families aren't eligible for the full benefit of the new Ontario Student Grant.

Quite frankly, I'm tired of the roughshod way the Liberals treat the people of this province. Gas plant scandals, the e-health scandal, the Ornge Air fiasco, the fire sale of Hydro One, fiscal mismanagement – the list goes on.

Ready, fire, aim is the Liberal way, but it's no way to run a province.


Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.

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