A Responsible Approach, For A Change
Premier McGuinty Announces Action Plan to Tackle Tory Deficit and Deliver Real, Positive Change
TORONTO -- Ontario's new government will act to eliminate the Tory deficit so it can deliver on its campaign promises to provide real, positive change, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Ours will be a responsible approach, for a change," Premier McGuinty said in a major address to the Economic Club of Toronto.
"I am not here to tell you the cupboard is bare, to get out of our promises. I am here to tell you that we found something in the cupboard: a $5.6 billion Tory deficit. We are going to eliminate it so we can implement our promises."
The McGuinty government announced an action plan that keeps Ontario Liberal campaign commitments and starts to bring the province's finances into balance. It will act this fall to:
- Roll back the latest portion of the Tories' tax giveaway to large corporations;
- Eliminate the seniors' property tax credit;
- Eliminate the tax giveaway for private schools;
- Take the first step towards raising the tobacco tax to the national average;
- Maintain personal income tax rates and surtax rates at the current level;
- Collect from corporations that have not been paying their taxes; and
- Eliminate the waste of millions of taxpayers' dollars on partisan, political advertising.
"We will act in a responsible way when it comes to electricity. Since the Tory price cap was put in place a year ago, it has cost us all almost $700 million, or roughly $2 million a day," Premier McGuinty said.
"It's one thing to take this sort of approach when the province is in surplus - it's quite another when you're in the red. We want a price regime that better reflects the true cost of electricity. I have asked the Minister of Energy to present a plan to Cabinet within 30 days to achieve that goal."
Further steps to tackle the Tory deficit will be announced in next spring's budget following the biggest provincewide pre-budget consultation in the province's history.
The Premier's remarks come less than 24 hours after former Provincial Auditor Erik Peters independently reported that Ontario faces a deficit of at least $5.6 billion, despite the Tories' claim that the budget was balanced.
"After eight years of Tory government, the bottom line is: our schools are worse off, our health care is worse off, our environment is worse off and we face a Tory deficit of $5.6 billion," Premier McGuinty said.
"It's a devastating record, given that these have been years of often spectacular economic growth. Clearly, it was time for a change, and we are working hard to deliver that change."