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Ontario Hansard - 28-May2012

ONTARIO BUDGET


Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. The people who elected us want us to keep working on the challenges that they're facing. They're worried about parents who are waiting for health care, or whether daycare is going to be there for their children when they need it. And they don't want another mess like the one that we've been watching unfold with Ornge. Basically, they want us to do our jobs, not rubber-stamp a 300-page omnibus bill before people have a chance even to look at it.

The Premier says he won't support our move to fast-track some of those key budget measures that are going to be necessary. Is he ready, then, to look at other ways that we can get the results that people expect from us?


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, I want to quote my honourable colleague from her post-budget vote media availability on April 24, when she said, "We are going to allow the budget to go forward and proudly say to Ontarians, `We did some things to make it better for you.'" She was right then, and she is right today, if she adheres to the sentiments that informed that statement.

I say this, and again I commend my colleague: We did come together; we did find some common ground; we did add some water to our wine. There was an exchange of considerations, to use legal terminology; there was quid pro quo. They asked that we make some changes; we did that, Speaker. The purpose of making those changes was so that we could move ahead with our budget.

I think my honourable colleague understands what is at stake with respect to some tax considerations. I think it's in the interests of Ontarians that we do what we agreed to do, which is to move ahead with our budget.

1050


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: This morning we got a real example of why exactly we need to look carefully at the government's omnibus 300-page bill. Legal experts who looked at the bill say that it could be used to bypass-

Interjection.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Member from Eglinton-Lawrence, come to order.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: -the Legislature and hold a fire sale of public assets without any public debate. That's buried in that bill, Speaker.

Now, does the Premier plan to sell off the LCBO? Does he plan to sell off the OLG in a fire sale? And if not, then he should be agreeing with us that we need hearings and amendments to his 300-page bill.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, we have agreed to provide those kinds of hearings. I say to my honourable colleague that there will be no fire sales. She will know that we have in the past looked at the kinds of things that she has talked about just now; that we have rejected those.

Having said that, we do think that we can look for opportunities to better introduce private sector support for ServiceOntario. We think that's a responsible move on our part so that we can find, again, savings and efficiencies so that we can give life to the priority that we've attached to our schools and our health care.

So as we look for savings and efficiencies, let's remember what the objective is here: It is to ensure that we're protecting the gains we've made in our schools, protecting the gains we've made in our health care and, over the course of time, to pay down our deficit.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: New Democrats have been very clear. We want to get some results for the people who sent us here: the working parents who need child care or the families who are worried about losing health care. They're not going to be helped by the same old politics, and they're certainly not going to be helped by another Ornge unfolding in this province.

Is the Premier ready to do the hard work to make the minority government work, or can we expect more of the same rhetoric, leading to the exact same results?


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: Speaker, I remind my honourable colleague that we made close to a billion-over $1 billion, in fact, of expenditure changes as a result of the advice that we received from her. We made changes to ODSP. We added to that our increase in social service assistance, as well-

Interjection.


Hon. Dalton McGuinty: -and OW, Speaker.

There was a corporate tax issue which we both agreed on. There was the tax on Ontario's wealthiest, which we moved ahead with at the insistence of my honourable colleague the leader of the NDP.

The fact is, we did find common ground. I think the result of that was a better budget for the people of Ontario, and now our shared responsibility is to ensure that we move ahead with a budget that we built together.

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