Ministers pitch provincial budget

that the Wynne Liberal minority recognizes the need for backing from either the NDP or the Progressive Conservatives. “We cannot govern as though we were a majority.” Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have already declared they will vote against the budget, even before it was presented to the legislature last week. Chiarelli criticized the Tories as being “disrespectful” to voters for not even reading the budget before an- nouncing their opposition to it. He noted that the NDP have indicated they want to review the document “to make sure what’s in the budget is more than a promise.” This follows after negotia- tions with the Liberals to have various NDP priorities for social programs and tax relief for lower-income families included in the budget. “I think that’s fair,” said Chiarelli, regarding the NDP decision to review the budget first

before announcing support or opposition. The proposed provincial budget includes a Youth Jobs Strategy worth $295 million over a two-year period to help create em- ployment opportunities for 30,000 Ontario youths. “This strategy will connect our children with careers they can build on,” said Labour Minister Naqvi. A revision to the Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program means people with disabilities involved in those programs will be able to keep all of their first $200 a month in regular earnings with- out any cuts to their subsidies. Where infrastructure is concerned the provincial budget confirms a $600 million commitment to Ottawa’s light rail transit project. Rural and northern municipalities have a two-year commitment of $100 mil- lion towards “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects. The provincial budget will also make the present 2-cents-a-litre gas tax fund a permanent part of the annual subsidy for municipalities with public transit systems in place. Ottawa-Orléans MPP McNeeley noted that represents an annual subsidy of $35 million for Ottawa’s OCTranspo system. “It’s a very, very significant infusion of public dollars for Ottawa,” he said. In MPP Grant Crack’s Glengarry-Prescott- Russell riding the permanent gas tax fund means more budget certainty for the City of Clarence-Rockland and Russell Township with their public bus services and also for

The Nation Municipality and the Village of Casselman which now share and support the Transit Eastern Ontario (TEO) system that provides commuter bus service for Casselman and villages in The Nation and also Crysler in North Stormont township. “I am very pleased with this budget,” said Crack. “It’s a fiscally responsible Liberal bud- get.” Meanwhile the NDP is setting up a web- site along with a toll-free phone number to collect public feedback on the proposed budget. NDP leader Andrea Horwath urged taxpayers to get in touch with her party about the budget before it comes back up in the legislature for the next reading. “People told us they are tired of being ignored by governments that seem more concerned with themselves than with the people who elected them,” Horwath stated in a press release. “We put their issues on the agenda. Now we want to ask them how we achieve results that work for them.” The NDP budget feedback website is at while the toll-free number is 1-877-341-0244. www. editionap .ca Everything at your fingertips Tout au bout des doigts


OTTAWA | Cooperation is key to Ontario’s new budget. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and two of his cabinet colleagues, Madeleine Meilleur and Yasir Naqvi, spent the morning after May 2’s provincial budget announcement in Ottawa with regional Liberal MPPs Phil McNeely and Grant Crack. They were all there to pitch the first budget of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s administration to local media. While highlighting the benefits as pre- sented to the legislature, Chiarelli empha- sized that approval of the budget demands support from the Opposition. “This budget invests in the community and in the people,” Chiarelli said, adding


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