Premier Mcguinty Seeks Fairness For Ontarians
Premier Urges Fix To Fiscal Imbalance That Helps All Canadians
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is calling for a fix to Canada's financial arrangements that ensures fairness for Ontarians and helps all Canadians.
In a speech to the combined Empire and Canadian Clubs of Toronto, the Premier outlined the principles that are guiding Ontario:
- Ontario needs to be able to keep enough of the wealth that is generated here in Ontario to invest in its future prosperity and put the province on a firm financial footing
- All provinces need enough resources to deliver important programs such as health care
- New fiscal arrangements must be transparent, with one clear equalization program, and transfers that are delivered on a per-capita basis.
"We support equalization. We acknowledge that different provinces and territories will have different capacities. We are proud to help pay for training in Halifax and St. John's, surgeries in Montreal and Winnipeg, and postsecondary education in Whitehorse and Moncton," Premier McGuinty said.
"We do not support the unfairness that has crept into all other federal transfers --transfers that should be paid out on a per-capita basis."
That unfairness means that:
- An unemployed Ontarian gets $3,310 less in annual regular benefits than an unemployed person in other provinces
- Ontario gets $181 less per hip replacement than other provinces
- Ontario receives $104 less per college student than other provinces
- Ontario receives $361 less per disability support case than other provinces.
"Unemployed and disabled Ontarians, students and health care patients in Ontario are just as Canadian as other Canadians, and should be treated equally," Premier McGuinty said.
Ontario has made some "real progress" in narrowing what has been a $23-billion gap between what Ontarians contribute to the federal government in revenues -- and what they get back in programs and services, Premier McGuinty said.
The Premier credited agreements with former Prime Minister Paul Martin that will provide Ontarians with an additional $6.9 billion, over the next six years, to support immigrants, train workers and help offset climate change -- agreements that Prime Minister Harper has committed to keeping in place.
"So if we can make real progress under Mr. Martin, who never acknowledged a fiscal imbalance even existed, then surely Ontario is entitled to expect tremendous progress under Prime Minister Harper, who has said that fixing the fiscal imbalance is one of his highest priorities," Premier McGuinty said.
"I'm looking forward to meeting with the other premiers next month in Montreal, and I look forward to all of us sitting down with the Prime Minister in the months ahead."