Doug Ford presents campaign budget with five more years of deficits

According to the budget, spending is expected to rise more than 6% in 2022-23 from this year, to $198.6 billion. This is 20% more than before the pandemic in 2019-2020.

The return to a balanced budget will have to wait until 2027-2028.

Most of the measures contained in the 2022 budget had already been announced in recent months by Doug Ford and his ministers.

What’s new: a home care tax credit for seniors, a tax cut for the less well-off, and a promise to add a provincial park (the location and cost have yet to be determined).

The budget will likely never pass before the provincial election on June 2, since the Progressive Conservatives are due to adjourn in the Legislative Assembly this week and then start the election campaign next Wednesday.

The budget will therefore only serve as an electoral framework for Doug Ford. Its finance minister, Peter Bethlenfalvy, refuses to commit to adopting it in its current form if the Progressive Conservatives are re-elected.

This is our plan to rebuild the economy. »

A quote from Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario Minister of Finance

Minister Bethlenfalvy also defends himself from not balancing the budget more quickly, while the Office of Financial Accountability of Ontario (BRF) recently argued that the province could come out of the red by 2023-2024.

He says the pandemic has shown the scale of the underinvestment from the previous Liberal government, supported by the NDP.

We have the right balance. The deficit will be eliminated two years earlier than planned. We invest in infrastructure. »

A quote from Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance

Budget Highlights

A tax credit for home care

According to the budget, seniors aged 70 and over who live at home will be eligible for a new tax credit covering up to 25% of their medical expenses, whether it be the help of a nurse or a occupational therapist or the purchase of an electric scooter or diapers.

Unquantified promises

The government does not quantify the cost of many of the measures contained in the budget, including the controversial Highway 413 project. The explanation: the province is waiting for calls for tenders.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives promise a new provincial park, but don’t know where it will be located or how much such a project will cost, saying those details are yet to be determined.

The Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney, announced with great fanfare last November a modernization of the provincial French Language Services Act. However, no additional money is allocated in the budget.

The reactions

The Leader of the Official Opposition, New Democrat Andrea Horwath, accuses the Progressive Conservatives of ignoring the population’s crying needs for affordable housing and the high cost of dental care and medication, in particular.

This government is completely cut off from the reality of ordinary Ontariansshe says.

She warns voters if they choose to grant a second term to the Ford government, while the Minister of Finance refuses to confirm that he will pass the budget in its current form, if the Progressive Conservatives are re-elected.

What are they hiding? Doug Ford will start cutting spending again if he’s re-elected. »

A quote from Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP
Andrea Horwath and Steven Del Duca at a press briefing.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca are also courting Ontarians ahead of the June election.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Chris Young

Political scientist Geneviève Tellier, a professor at the University of Ottawa, points out that Doug Ford, who was elected in 2018 by promising to limit spending, is abandoning this approach as the election approaches.

They made an electoral budget. They cannot show that they are financially prudent, which will displease their base. And the business community will not be happy with this budget, because it will create inflation, it will accentuate the labor shortage. »

A quote from Geneviève Tellier, political scientist

That said, she notes that the budget calls for an average increase in program spending of 2.5% per year. Considering current inflation, that seems pretty lowshe said, echoing the recriminations of the NDP.

During the 2018 election campaign, Doug Ford promised to cut taxes for the middle class, but this promise is not found in the budget again this year. No rebate of $ 500 either as in Quebec to help Ontarians cope with the meteoric increase in the cost of living during the pandemic.

In fact, the big winners of this budget are motorists, emphasizes Professor Tellier, who should be entitled, if Mr. Ford is re-elected, to a reduction in the gas tax, not to mention the cancellation of registration sticker and investments in motorways.

More details to come

Leave a Comment