A Responsible Approach, For a Change
Premier Says Government to Tackle Deficit and Deliver on Agenda
Ontario's new government will tackle the $5.6 billion Tory deficit so that it can implement its plan for real, positive change, Premier Dalton McGuinty said this week in his first visits to Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Kingston since becoming Premier.
"We're going to do what needs to be done. We'll bring responsible management to the province's finances, for a change," Premier McGuinty said.
"We must get our fiscal house in order because failing to do so would put all that we want for Ontarians at risk. And we want smaller classes for our school children, shorter waits for health care and cleaner and safer communities for all of us."
Premier McGuinty thanked former provincial auditor Erik Peters for giving Ontarians the "straight goods" in his recent report, which pegged the Tory deficit at $5.6 billion, despite the former Tory government's claims that their books were balanced.
After the Legislature resumes sitting November 19, the new Liberal government will move swiftly to introduce legislation that will, if passed, go a long way towards tackling the deficit.
Specifically, the government plans to keep its campaign promises to:
- Roll back the latest portion of the tax cut for corporations
- Maintain personal income tax rates at the current level
- Eliminate the seniors' property tax credit
- Eliminate the tax credit for private schools
- Take the first step towards raising the tobacco tax to the national average.
The government plans to introduce an electricity pricing policy that better reflects the true cost of electricity, Premier McGuinty said.
"Since the Tory price cap was put in place a year ago, it has cost all of us more than $700 million. That's almost $2 million a day," he said.
"Now it's one thing to take this sort of approach when the province is in surplus. It's quite another when red ink is threatening our ability to adequately support our schools and health care."
Promising to return to Kitchener-Waterloo soon, Premier McGuinty said the new year will mark the largest pre-budget consultation in the province's history. The Premier and cabinet ministers will tour the province to "lead and listen" as they look for additional ways to tackle the $5.6 billion Tory deficit.