Public input wanted: is the provincial budget election material?

Families have been telling me in recent months that their biggest concerns are jobs, health care and the cost of living. The budget announced by the Liberal government does not do nearly enough to address these priorities.

There are nearly 600,000 people looking for work in this province, and yet the budget lacks solutions to create jobs. In fact, the government’s decision to cancel construction of new hospitals, cutbacks in health care, and selloffs of Ontario Northland will lead to even more job losses. Unfortunately, the government has been ignoring practical solutions, like rewarding companies when they create jobs and making sure what we mine in Ontario is processed here.

Families struggling to pay the bills will be disappointed that the budget lacked help, like the New Democrat plan to remove the HST from home heating bills.

On health care, seniors and families will still face a broken home care system with long waits for care and aggressive cutbacks to health care funding will hurt services across the province.

Many Beaches-East York residents are passionate about the environment. This budget will reduce an already anaemic Environment Ministry by reducing resources by ten per cent.

Our community members also want us to help the poorest Ontarians and those with disabilities. How does a budget with a freeze on income from Social Assistance for those who live in deep and continuing poverty seem fair? Why is the Child Tax Benefit Allowance being delayed? Why are Children’s Aid Societies being pared by $16 million?

The government seems to be finally admitting that no-strings-attached corporate tax giveaways aren’t creating jobs. Unfortunately, the province has already blown billions on these handouts and plans to do more as soon as we have the money.

When people elected the minority government, they sent a clear message to politicians: work together to find solutions to their day-to-day challenges.  It’s disappointing that the government hasn’t taken that approach with this budget, and instead appears more interested in political posturing and chest thumping.

That won’t be the New Democrat approach. We’re going to listen to the people who sent us to Queen’s Park.

We have to vote on the budget – and because it’s a minority government – voting against it could lead to an election.

This is a difficult decision that must be taken seriously. And a serious approach means asking people what they think for a change.

That’s why I am encouraging readers to contact me and share their take on the budget. Tell us:

• Do you like the budget introduced by the McGuinty government? What do you like about the budget?

• What do you dislike about the budget introduced by the McGuinty government?

• Because voting against the budget may trigger an election, would you support an election at this time?

I plan on knocking on doors, emailing my constituents and getting on the phone to speak directly with people in Beaches-East York. I hope to speak to as many of my constituents as possible, and very much welcome letters, emails and calls to get feedback and ideas from you about what’s best for Ontario’s families as we negotiate a fairer budget, that focuses on jobs, health care and making life more affordable.

Surely there are better solutions. We know that your advice will lead to them.

To reach our office, email mprue-co@ndp.on.ca , call 416-690-1032, or visit my website at wwwmichaelprue.com.


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