Liberal budget fails to deliver ‘Strong Action’ for Ontario

May 15, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK — The Liberals’ budget falls far short of providing the leadership needed to address Ontario’s prolonged jobs and debt crisis, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said at Queen’s Park yesterday.

“The so-called Strong Action for Ontario Act fails to live up to its name and does nothing to get the province off of its collision course with a $30-bilion deficit,” Harris said. “The Premier says he will eliminate the deficit, but he’s introduced a budget that increases spending in 14 out of 24 ministries and keeps the deficit virtually unchanged at $15-billion.”

Last month, two major credit rating agencies gave Dalton McGuinty a clear signal that his government cannot continue business as usual.

Right after the Liberal budget passed its first vote, Standard & Poor’s put the province on a negative credit watch. One day after that, Moody’s downgraded the province’s actual credit rating.

“If Ontario’s credit rating continues to be downgraded, the province’s cost of borrowing will increase, meaning we’ll have less money to spend on priorities like hospitals and schools,” Harris said. “We simply can’t afford to continue down this path. Ontario’s interest payments are already the province’s third largest expenditure behind health and education.”

McGuinty’s spending habits have greatly diverged from the realities the rest of the province has been facing for years, Harris said. In fact, since 2003, the Liberals have increased the number of public-sector positions by 23 per cent – or 246,000 jobs – while the private-sector only grew by five per cent over that same time period.

“Clearly, the Liberal government is incapable of sound economic management. Expanding the public sector to unsustainable levels is not what we need,” Harris said. “The answer for the economy is sustained private-sector job creation. That’s why we in the PC Party will continue to offer concrete proposals that reduce the size and cost of government and power up the private sector.”