Ontario Tories to unveil first budget since winning majority government

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford speaks during a media event in Saskatoon Thursday

A new "Ontario Line" will link Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre while providing relief to the packed Yonge Street line, Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday. When asked Wednesday about any cuts that may be planned to achieve balance, Ford did not provide details.

After the Tories took office past year they pegged the deficit from the previous Liberal government at $14.5 billion, but the financial accountability officer has said it was closer to $12 billion.

"The City of Toronto faces a congestion crisis and Toronto council has spent years debating subway expansion instead of building new subway construction", the source said. "We need to make sure that it's fair and balanced". The Ministry of Children's and Social Services, which includes income assistance and the autism program, will see $1-billion in cuts by 2021-22, a 2.1-per-cent a year decrease, for example.

The budget projects an $11.7-billion deficit this fiscal year, an improvement of nearly $3-billion since last fall's fiscal update due to the inclusion of a $1-billion reserve and increased tax revenues from economic growth.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy said he would like to cut waste and the $12.5 billion a year the province spends on interest on its almost $350 billion debt. The previous Liberal government projected $145.9-billion in program spending, while the Tories project $150-billion, excluding debt payments.

Ford mentioned his late brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who had advocated for a three-stop subway to the city's eastern suburb when talking about the changes to that project.

Interim Liberal leader John Fraser said it might take some work to look beyond the distracting items to find cuts buried in the budget.

It also contains a list of measures with little impact on the province's books, including a new, blue licence plate design with the slogan "A Place to Grow" and the liberalization of liquor laws to allow tailgating in stadium parking lots, drinking in bars and restaurants at 9 a.m. and, if municipalities choose, drinking in parks. "I'm not saying those are bad things, it's just not the most important thing right now - things like healthcare, education, the environment".

For the first time, Premier Doug Ford publicly shared an exact dollar figure on transit funding for the Greater Toronto Area during an event in Burlington, Ont., and said more details will come during a news conference with transportation minister Jeff Yurek on Wednesday. The government says this will lower the risk of the project going over budget.

"We certainly campaigned on ensuring that child care across Ontario is successful and affordable and flexible for families from one end of this province to another so stay tuned until Thursday", she said this week. For kids between six and 15, families would receive up to $3,750.

His comments come hours after Tory said the city still hasn't been "fully informed" about what the Ford government is proposing.



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