Strengthening The Foundation For Change
"Straight Goods" Throne Speech Says Government Will Tackle the Tory Deficit and Deliver Real, Positive Change
QUEEN'S PARK -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today said his government is tackling the $5.6 billion Tory deficit so it can deliver real, positive change for Ontarians.
"The Tory deficit not only threatens the improvements we are determined to make. It threatens the public services we have now," Premier McGuinty said.
"We didn't create this problem, but we're going to fix it. We have to secure our fiscal foundation so we can build better schools on a firm foundation, better hospitals on a firm foundation, and stronger communities on a firm foundation."
Premier McGuinty made his comments as the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, presented a Speech from the Throne, opening the First Session of the 38th Parliament of Ontario.
In the Speech, the government highlights the need for decisive action. Since the year 2000, spending has grown more than ten times faster than tax revenue. If no action were taken, the Tory deficit would grow to $7.7 billion next year and $8.6 billion in 2007. And that's without any new programs or spending.
So the government is keeping its commitment to cancel irresponsible Tory tax giveaways, including the latest round of corporate tax cuts, the private school tax credit, and the seniors' education tax credit.
The Speech also lists several steps the government will take to keep its commitment to:
Provide Excellence for All in Education, including anti-bullying programs, safety audits, character education, and new programs to ensure teaching excellence, while laying the foundation for smaller class sizes, learning until 18, and the Best Start early childhood education plan.
Deliver the Health Care We Need, including introduction of a new Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act, new agreements to bring new private hospitals into the public sector, more independence for the Chief Medical Officer of Health, smoke-free workplaces, and more accountability for health care dollars.
Build an Economy that Achieves Our Potential, including a two-year tuition freeze, access to trades and professions, a plan to ensure stable and reliable electricity, an increase in the minimum wage and an end to the legislated 60-hour workweek.
Grow Strong Communities, including a permanent greenbelt across the Golden Horseshoe, a ban on the disposal of untreated toxic sludge, protection of our drinking water and fresh water resources, and measures to stop urban sprawl.
Create Government that Works for You, including a new minister for democratic renewal and steps to give MPPs a greater role and hold ministers accountable for attending Question Period.
"The first improvements we make will make a real difference, but they will be affordable and they will be responsible," Premier McGuinty said.
In the Speech, the new government says it is laying the groundwork for its entire plan for real, positive change, including smaller class sizes and more nurses and hospital beds, by tackling the Tory deficit.
"We'll work as hard as the people we're privileged to serve. Our government won't try to make problems disappear with accounting tricks, we won't paper them over with money we don't have. We'll strengthen the foundation for change, so we can deliver real, positive change," said Premier McGuinty.